This year's heat wave is directly linked to man-made climate change. North Pole temperature rising from November and December were recorded as 5 degrees Celsius higher than average.
The heat wave could have started in November. During this time, ice should have formed as the seasonal drop in temperature occurs around this time. However, instead of ice formation, warm air blowing in from the Arctic Ocean actually started melting the ice.
According to Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center In Boulder, CO, in the past during this time of the year the ocean starts losing heat in the form of infrared radiation.
Some of this radiation gets trapped and absorbed by water vapor and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, there is more warmth in the Arctic this year as was reported by Wired.
A possible explanation for this year's unusual heat is that high-pressure system centered over Scandinavia brought in a flow of warm air between Greenland and Norway.
At the same time, an unusually low-pressure system formed in the pacific just east of Russia. This combination of events drew heat from the mainland to the Bering Sea and Alaska. These two events brought in a blast of hot air causing North Pole temperature rising as a result.
Dr. Friederike Otto, a senior researcher at Oxford's Environmental Change Institute explains that with global warming, sea ice and ice on land melts, this exposes more land and darker water causing more sunlight to be absorbed by the Earth's surface instead of reflecting it.
Dr. Otto went on to say that if temperature continue to increase further, we could expect a heat wave like this to be an annual occurrence as reported by the BBC.
North Pole temperature rising was also seen about the exact same period a year ago explains Dr. Thorsten Markus, chief of NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory.