Arctic set to be warmer than parts of UK as temperatures hit 30C higher than average

Unseasonably warm weather sees mercury in some polar regions creep above freezing

Tom Barnes@thomas_barnes
Saturday 24 February 2018 12:37
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Arctic temperatures: Map shows mild conditions in Alaska and Russia

Parts of the Arctic could be warmer than the UK this weekend after temperatures in the region soared more than 30C higher than averages for the time of year.

Mild air amassing on both sides of the Atlantic could cause temperatures to rise above freezing in some polar areas during February for the first time in recorded history.

The Danish Meteorological Institute recorded earlier this week the mercury had edged above freezing at Cape Morris Jesup in Greenland, the northernmost weather station in the world.

In Utqiagvik, Alaska, the northernmost city in the US, temperatures reached a record high of -1C, some 22C warmer than the average for the year.

Other parts of the polar region off the northern coast of Greenland have seen temperatures 30C higher than normal for February.

All this comes despite the fact that large parts of the Arctic Circle are currently trapped in perpetual darkness, with the sun not set to rise again until March.

“Cape Morris Jesup in Greenland has been above freezing nearly all day. How weird is that?” tweeted Robert Rohde, lead scientist at non-profit climate monitoring organisation Berkeley Earth.

“Well it’s Arctic winter. The sun set in October and won’t be seen again until March. Perpetual night, but still above freezing.”

Although factors such as wind direction cause large degrees of variability in Arctic temperatures, scientists warn unseasonably warm winters in the region are becoming far more commonplace.

Meanwhile, a patch of high pressure drawing cold air across the British Isles from Scandinavia and Russia means temperatures could plummet to “exceptionally cold” levels in the UK, according to the Met Office.

Forecasters predict eastern and southeastern parts of England could be hit by up to 10cm of snow on Monday and Tuesday during one of the coldest spells of weather to hit Britain in several years.

Experts warned temperatures could drop as low as -8C in large parts of the country and will struggle to rise above freezing during the day.

Met Office forecaster Paul Gundersen said: “Parts of southern England and Wales are likely to experience the coldest spell of weather since 2013.

“Many places will be dry, but snow showers are expected to develop from Monday.

“The regions most at risk of disruptive snow are parts of south-east England and East Anglia, although parts of northern England and eastern Scotland are also at risk.

“Transport disruption is likely in areas with significant snowfall.”

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