Number Shows How Much Warmer Fall Is This Year

November 18th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

Even as people begin to prepare for the holiday season, with Thanksgiving gatherings on the way and Christmas right around the corner, it seems humanity may have bigger problems than what sweater to get your uncle.

The Arctic is supposed to grow its coldest and enable the ice to thicken during Fall, but the temperature at the north pole was 36 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average this season. The abnormally high temperature is only compounded by record-low ice covering the ocean, which is likely to grow more slowly this winter than ever due to the unusually warm air that has been circulating toward the poles since October.

The implications of this are multitude and disastrous. If the trends hold, each successive year could see fewer inches of ice on the polar caps than the last. The immediate effect of this would be that the planet would warm even more quickly and that the sea levels would rise globally.

The shrinking ice and rising water will have a devastating impact on Arctic animals, such as polar bears, which have already begun to become endangered due to the effects of climate change.

As Ph.D. student at University of California, Irvine, and climate expert Zack Labe pointed out Nov. 14 on Twitter, the loss of thick ice on the poles has been going on for decades.

What has been realized more recently is how quickly the rising sea levels, which are poised to begin putting coastal cities like London, New York, New Orleans and Miami under water in a matter of decades, will impact human societies.