2016 Exceptionally Warm Arctic Winter

MODIS January - February 2016 Land Surface Temperature (LST) difference from average illustrating exceptionally high surface temperature in the Arctic region

2016 has been the warmest winter on record in many areas of Alaska and the Arctic.  While high temperature is somewhat expected during an El Niño year, the degree of warming is greater than expected. Some believe a strong Aleutian low pressure system added to the warm winter through semi-tropical air entering interior Alaska. Climate change is also likely playing a part.  Sea ice has been virtually absent from the Barents and Kara Seas, which constitute a large swath of the Atlantic Arctic, located northeast of Scandinavia and north of the Russian mainland. “For the Arctic this is definitely the strangest winter I’ve ever seen," said Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.

2015 Western Warm spell in North America

MODIS January - March 2015 Land Surface Temperature (LST) difference from average illustrating strong east-west temperature divide