Shorts and sandals time in the Arctic
Arctic sea ice sets January record lowDoyle Rice, USA TODAY9:18 a.m. EST February 5, 2016
The amount of Arctic sea ice set a record low for the month of January, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday.
January 2016 was a remarkably warm month there, the data center said. Air temperatures were 13 degrees above average across most of the Arctic Ocean.
Just before New Year’s, a slug of mild air pushed temperatures above freezing to within 200 miles of the North Pole, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson.
This was due in part to a strong negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation for the first three weeks of the month, according to the data center. (The Arctic Oscillation refers to variations in pressure patterns over the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.)
Sea ice is frozen ocean water that melts each summer and refreezes each winter. It typically reaches its smallest "extent" in September and largest in March of each year, and is tracked by the data center, located in Boulder, Colo.