Greenland has set a temperature record as its capital city, Nuuk, reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit in June for the first time in recorded history. On the day that Nuuk reached 75 degrees, New York City saw a high of only 71 degrees. The record June temperature is only 3.6 degrees away from the all-time high temperature of 78.6 degrees. This record high happened in Greenland on July 30, 2013. Temperatures have been tracked consistently in Greenland since 1958. Even though temperature record keeping was sporadic prior to 1958, historical records show that the all-time record temperature in Greenland was 86 degrees on June 23, 1915.
— Svein T veitdal (@tveitdal) June 11, 2016
It is not rare for Nuuk to encounter warmer weather in comparison to other parts of Greenland. Nuuk is situated on the southwest section of Greenland, where the warmer temperatures normally occur. The previous June record occurred on June 15, 2014, in the city of Kangerlussuaq where the temperature reached 73.8 degrees, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, is located 200 miles north of Nuuk.
What caused the mercury to top out at 75 degrees in Nuuk? John Cappelen, a senior climatologist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, spoke with the Washington Post about the record-setting June temperature. Cappelen states that the 75 degrees high was brought on by winds coming in from the east which allowed a high-pressure system to settle over the northeast part of Greenland while a low-pressure system stayed to the south of Greenland. As winds blow into the capital of Nuuk, they travel downhill. This leads to a phenomenon known as adiabatic warming. In adiabatic warming, temperature increases as the air goes through a compression from going from low pressure to high pressure. This meteorological concept is very similar to what is seen in California with the Santa Ana winds.
Greenland has not been a stranger to increasing temperatures this year. On April 11, the city of Kangerlussuaq set a record for a high temperature in April when the mercury hit 64 degrees. Andrew Freedman from Mashable commented on the unseasonably high temperature.
“This was the warmest April temperature on record at that location, and it nearly set an all-time warm temperature record for Greenland as a whole.”
The amount of Arctic ice that was melting as a result of the April high forced employees at the Danish Meteorological Institute to reevaluate their ice melt projections to ensure that everything was working the way that it should be. Climate scientist Peter Langen commented on what his team was seeing.
“We had to check that our models were still working properly.”
Greenland has just entered its ablation season. The ablation season is the time of year where the ice sheets deteriorate in size at their edges than snow falling at the interior of the ice sheet. The DMI states that the ablation season officially starts when more than one gigaton of ice is lost through melting. The first three days of June saw Greenland lose 1.6, 2.2, and 2.4 gigatons of ice. Peter Langen commented on how the ice melt this year matches the melt of years past.
“This is the sixth earliest onset of ice loss in our 27-year record, although there isn’t really a large difference from one year to the next in the top-ranking 17 years.”
— The Ice Age (@Jamie_Woodward_) June 5, 2016
Temperatures in Greenland and across the Arctic region have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Greenland reaching 75 degrees may not seem too hot to some people, but in this area of the world, it is a drastic temperature increase. Is this the new norm in Greenland and the Arctic?
[Image Via Yongyut Kumsri / Shutterstock]