Heatwaves at both poles of the Earth are causing alarm among climate scientists who say that such ‘unprecedented’ phenomena could trigger faster and more abrupt climate change than previously believed. The warnings are being issued after some areas in Antarctica recorded temperatures of 40C above normal, while the north pole’s temperature reached 30C above normal, reaching levels usually seen later in the year, The Guardian reported. The rapid rise in temperatures at the poles is an indication that Earth’s climate system is being disrupted by our lifestyles, the UK-based newspaper reported.
Scientists labeled the developments ‘historic’ and ‘dramatic’. Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University, told the newspaper: ‘The models have done a good job projecting the overall warming, but we’ve argued that extreme events are exceeding model projections. These events drive home the urgency of action’.
Prof. Mark Maslin, a professor of earth system science at UCL, said he and his colleagues were already shocked by the level and frequency of extreme weather events in the past year. ‘Now we have record temperatures in the Arctic. Climate change has entered a new phase much earlier than predicted,’ he added.
As a result, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned of unprecedented warming signals already occurring, resulting in some changes – such as polar melt – that could quickly become irreversible. In 2021, there were a series of unprecedented weather events, in particular in the US Pacific north-west, where previous records were shattered by several degrees as temperatures reached close to 50C.