Extreme heat at poles once IPCC talks begin

Extreme heat at poles once IPCC talks begin

Ice is falling on the Grandidier Channel in Antarctica.Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In Antarctica, the temperature became less than 40 degrees Celsius more than usual at one monitoring station last weekend, and at another, the temperature record for that time of year was broken by 15 degrees. Around the North Pole, in Spitsbergen and in Lapland, it is getting 30 degrees warmer than usual in some places.

And this is not an exaggeration on the part of scientists who want to pay attention to the upcoming climate report, assures glaciologist and weather forecaster Peter Kuipers-Munecki (Utrecht University). “This is very special and really ridiculous.”

The heat is caused by unusually warm air, both in the upper and lower part of the globe, which is pushed far north and south by immobile high pressure areas. In the Antarctic, an “atmospheric river,” as meteorologists call it, creates warm, cloudy weather. Meanwhile, near the North Pole, the fine air is creating temperatures you would normally expect later in the year.

crazy hot

“Especially in Antarctica, this really is kind of strange event† Very exceptional, says Kuipers Monnecki. Around the North Pole, this isn’t the highest temperature ever recorded, but we’re seeing these kinds of very light events more and more. It’s insanely hot this time of year. His colleague Arnaut van Delden points out that in any case, the heat appears to pass near the North Pole itself.

Records are being broken as the Arctic begins to warm up after winter, and Antarctica should cool rapidly as winter approaches. Kuipers Monecki explains that at those focal points between summer and winter the temperature at the poles is sensitive to changing air flows, because the sun is still very low. “If this ever happened, it would be in one of those shoulder seasons.”

For example, the heat wave in the far north is closely related to the mild weather here, van Delden explains. The reason is a region of high pressure currently located above Scandinavia. “It happens a lot in March, April and May,” says Van Delden.

As a result, cold arctic air is attracted to southern and eastern Europe, while in our region the air is exceptionally soft and the soft air moves to Lapland. For example, it is expected to be twice as cold in Athens this week as it is in Scotland, and it snowed in Turkey and Cyprus last weekend while the Netherlands basked in the sun.


In Antarctica, a heat wave will have few consequences. At weather stations where the records were measured, they remained below zero despite the “warmth”. And the peak was short-lived: meanwhile, after a few days, the temperature drops again. In Antarctica, the atmospheric river will mainly cause snow, Kuipers-Munecki predicts.

Secretary-General Petteri Taalas opened the 56th formal meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Climate Committee on Monday in sunny and temperate Geneva. Over the next two weeks, government representatives will discuss the exact text of the concluding section of the new IPCC report, the part that deals with greenhouse gas emissions.

The sub-report will identify, among other things, developments in the area of ​​carbon dioxide2Capture, which is widely considered absolutely necessary to keep the global temperature below the agreed-upon 1.5 degrees of warming.

“The clear message is that we need to be more committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Talas said in the opening. “For now, we are not going to head toward the 1.5-degree target.”

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