Freak warm spell sends temperatures 50+ degrees above average in Greenland


Temperatures skyrocketed above freezing in parts of northern Greenland on Wednesday as a surge of warm air from the Atlantic poured northward. 

A high temperature of 4.7 degrees Celsius, roughly 40 degrees Fahrenheit, was reported Wednesday at Qaanaaq Airport, along the far northwest coast of Greenland at a latitude of about 77.5 degrees north, about 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. 

That equates to temperatures roughly 50 degrees above average in northern Greenland for late November, where temperatures are usually in the minus 20s and minus 30s Fahrenheit. 

This tongue of warmer air arrived by means of strong southerly winds sandwiched between a strong low-pressure system located over northern Canada and a strong high-pressure system located near east-central Canada. 

Also contributing to the warmth were ocean temperatures 6-10 degrees above average between southern Greenland and adjacent portions of eastern Canada. 

A northward extension of ice-free water in the Baffin Bay, not that atypical for late November, extended along Greenland's west coast to the south of Qaanaaq, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. 

As strange as this sounds, last November and again last December, near or above-freezing air surged as far north as the North Pole. 

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