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Topic - Possible Ice Age-Climate Change
Posted: November 25 2016 at 1:41pm By carbon20

Average Arctic temperature in Svalbard 'could end up above freezing for first time in history'

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arctic.jpgKathryn Hansen/NASA via REUTERS/File Photo

The Arctic archipelago of Svalbard has seen such extreme warmth this year that the average annual temperature could end up above freezing for the first time on record, scientists have said. 

Ketil Isaksen of the Norwegian Meterological Institute said that the average temperature in Longyearbyen, the main settlement in Svalbard, is expected to be around 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) with a little over a month left of the year. 

"This is a little bit shocking," Isaksen said. "If you had asked me five or 10 years ago, I could not have imagined such numbers in 2016." 

The normal yearly average in Svalbard, an island group midway between the North Pole and continental Norway, is minus 6.7 C (20 F) and the warmest year until now was 2006, when the average temperature in Svalbard was minus 1.8 C (29 F), Isaksen said. "Svalbard is a very good spot to show what's happening in the Arctic at the moment," he said, noting that each of the past 73 months has been warmer than average. The rising temperatures in the Arctic are affecting permafrost and snow cover as well as the amount of sea ice, which this year was the second-lowest on record. Isaksen said the sea ice is building up much slower than normal as winter approaches."There are still huge areas in the Barents Sea and Kara Sea to the east of Svalbard that are free of ice," he said. "They should normally be ice-covered." 

Several studies show the world as a whole is on track for a new heat record this year, with the El Nino weather phenomenon adding to the underlying warming trend. More about: