Temperatures near the North Pole are expected to reach nearly 32 degrees F on Thursday — 40 to 50 degrees warmer than average, according
to several weather models. The warm spell, driven by a powerful storm off the coast of Greenland, comes at the tail end of what is “ very likely” to be the world’s hottest year on record. It also follows an unusually warm November in which the Arctic lost 19,000 square miles of sea ice in just five days. A study published in the journal Nature earlier this month found such temperature spikes have happened in the Arctic once or twice a decade, dating back to the 1950s. A similar warming event happened at the end of 2015. But the study also found that as sea ice has declined over the last half-century, it has become easier for warm air to move into the region and the intensity of those spikes has worsened.