Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Last Month Was The Hottest March In The Global Satellite Record, And The Arctic Is Still Sizzling

by Joe Romm Apr 4, 2016

Last month was the hottest March on record, according to newly-released satellite data. And it followed the hottest February on record.

The Arctic was literally off-the-charts warm last month, as we’ll see. It’s no surprise, then, that Arctic sea ice set a record for the lowest maximum extent.


Look at what the heat did: It kept Arctic sea ice growth almost flat for over a month during a time when sea ice extent normally soars to its annual maximum. The result, as the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported last week, was the lowest winter maximum on record.

"I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” reported NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “The heat was relentless.”


It bears repeating that recent research finds that rapid Arctic warming, driven in part by sea ice loss, is already worsening extreme weather. Also, the permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, and as it defrosts, it releases that carbon in the form of either CO2 or an even more potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas, methane (CH4). Thus as Arctic warming speeds up, it boosts global greenhouse gas levels, which leads to even more warming of the Arctic and so on.

That’s why we must pay attention to what happens in the Arctic — and do everything we can to stop global warming ASAP.

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