India isn’t the only place with a heat problem. While that country has been going through an unbearable heat wave, the Arctic is also heating up, with temperatures that are well above normal at the start of summer this year.
The chart shows the freezing degree-days in the Arctic, and the difference from the median. Freezing degree-days or FDD is a measure of how cold it has been for how long. As you can see in the above chart, compiled and annotated by Andrew Slater at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, 2016 has had temperatures that are off the charts.
Of course, the off-the-chart nature of this chart could be solved by simply expanding the chart. But that’s not the point.
High temperatures in the Arctic can melt sea ice even faster than normal. This year has already broken a record for lowest maximum extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The previous record was set only last year. Melting sea ice might be seen as a good thing for shipping companies looking for a faster route for shipping goods across the world, but for wildlife and indigenous peoples in the Arctic, and the global climate melting sea ice can present serious problems.