In case you were experiencing a moment of calmness about the state of our declining world, here’s a tasty treat for you: scientists are genuinely freaked out by “crazy” Arctic temperatures this month, which is forcing them to reconsider even their most apocalyptic climate change predictions.

Despite the fact the north pole doesn’t even get any sunlight until March, temperatures have been soaring as much as 35ºC above historical averages in some cases. That is… quite something.

At the world’s most northerly weather station – Cape Morris Jesup at the northern tip of Greenland – temperatures have at times recently been warmer than London and Zurich, both of which are thousands of kilometres to the south.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University, told The Guardian that these figures are pretty shocking:

This is an anomaly among anomalies. It is far enough outside the historical range that it is worrying – it is a suggestion that there are further surprises in store as we continue to poke the angry beast that is our climate. The Arctic has always been regarded as a bellwether because of the vicious circle that amplify human-caused warming in that particular region. And it is sending out a clear warning.

So why is this happening? Scientists are trying to find out, but their scrutiny is focused on the so-called ‘polar vortex’ – the circle of winds which keep warm air out of the Arctic and maintain the extremely cold temperatures in the area. The arctic vortex naturally fluctuates, but these fluctuations have become more extreme in recent years, meaning warmer temperatures last longer and longer.

So now the question is whether the polar vortex is on the verge of collapse, which could have wide-ranging effects on the world’s climate. Some other climate scientists think that’s bunkum… but it doesn’t change the fact that temperatures up north have been very, very weird indeed.

Image: Getty Images