The “Siberian cold” that has been entering Europe for the past weeks is in strong contrast to what is experienced in the rest of the Arctic!
This winter is the warmest ever recorded. Meteorologists consider December, January and February to be winter, and Arctic weather stations averaged 8.8 degrees (4.9 degrees Celsius) warmer than normal for the season that just ended.
The Arctic winter has also been characterized by record-low sea ice, with large open sea areas far north. Satellite data show that this is part of a clear trend of declining sea ice over decades, which is of major importance for the exchange of heat and moisture in the Arctic. This is particularly obvious in the Barents Sea and the areas around Svalbard, where the area of sea ice cover now in early March was the smallest recorded at this time of the year since the series started in 1967.
In a time of great change, this emphasizes the importance of the research done by the Nansen Legacy.
“Knowledge is a fundamental element for managing these areas well in the future. The major climate changes occurring in the Arctic, make it very important, but also challenging, to map the situation today and understand what can happen in the future. Already today, the changes are happening faster than we have thought, and it is a sign that we lack knowledge of important processes and links,” project leader Marit Reigstad.
But this can not be done alone, it needs collaborations and joint efforts to explore and understand the changes happening.