A freak blast of warm air pushes Arctic temperatures towards zero degrees Celsius – sparking fears for the ice.
Temperatures around the North Pole surged close to melting point on Thursday as a freak blast of warm air blanketed an Arctic region usually deep frozen in mid-winter darkness – scientists said.
Air temperatures at the North Pole were an estimated minus 4 degrees Celsius around midday with light snow according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute – against a more usual temperature close to -30 degrees Celsius.
There are no weather stations at the Pole itself but a buoy floating in the Arctic Ocean north of the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen was reporting zero degrees Celsius on Thursday.
Worldwide this year is set to be the warmest on record – driven up by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and a powerful El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean.