AUG 22, 2019 06:17 PM PDT

Lightning strikes in the Arctic

The US National Weather Service has reported some unusual weather in the Arctic circle. The NWS station in Fairbanks, Alaska, detected several lightning strikes only 300 miles from the North Pole last week. The lightning comes as a sign of the climatic changes that are occurring in the Arctic – and at a rate faster than anywhere else on the planet.

“This is one of the furthest north lightning strikes in Alaska forecaster memory,” the NWS stated. And while lightning isn’t that, that rare, Fairbanks meteorologist Ryan Metzger commented, “I wouldn’t say it’s never happened before, but it’s certainly unusual, and it piqued our attention.”

The NWS reported that 48 lightning strikes hit an area of sea ice or open ocean waters mixed with ice, at a latitude close to 85 degrees north, 120 degrees east. Experts say that strikes are a symptom of climate change, as the atmosphere near the pole had to have warm and moist enough air to produce thunderstorms. "The loss of sea ice across the Arctic has led to sea surface temperatures that are much above average for this time of year, which may be contributing to unusually unstable air masses being pushed across the central Arctic Ocean," reports the Washington Post. 

Indeed, the Arctic circle has seen significant climate devastation, with record-breaking temperatures in Alaska in July exceeding 90 degrees in Anchorage, and extreme ice-melt in Greenland that is thought to have sent 197 billion tons of ice-sheet water in the ocean. Wildfires have also been burning throughout the Arctic at unprecedented rates.

The region is also experiencing record-low sea ice levels, as the Arctic sea ice is currently at its lowest in at least 1,500 years, reports the Guardian.

Sources: The Guardian, The Washington Post

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
SEP 16, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 16, 2019
Welcome to hurricane season: meet Barry
Tropical Depression Barry hit the Gulf Coast hard yesterday, as rain pounded down on the region, leaving swamped roads and homes in its wake. Now, it conti...
SEP 16, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2019
How Conservationists Are Helping Endangered African Penguins
Residing at the coastlines of Southern Africa are a temperate penguin species dubbed the African penguin, and the International Union for Conservation of N...
SEP 16, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 16, 2019
Should we geo-engineer a super volcano to slow climate change?
New research published in Geophysical Research Letters takes a deeper look on the potentials that solar geoengineering methods might hold for our future. T...
SEP 16, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
SEP 16, 2019
Will Cannabis Go Organic in California?
Organic foods are growing in popularity. Can cannabis farmers get in on the game? In the U.S., the organic market breached the $50 billion mark for the fir...
SEP 16, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 16, 2019
"The Blob" is Back
Five years ago, a phenomenon dubbed “the blob” caused turmoil along the West Coast of the Pacific Ocean. No, it wasn’t an invader from sp...
SEP 16, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 16, 2019
The methane-eating microorganisms in the ocean
New research published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography reveals part of the mystery behind a one million square kilometer patch of ocean in the Pa...
Loading Comments...