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Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:19 PM

North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels

Source: The Guardian

North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels

‘Furthest north lightning strikes in Alaska forecaster memory’ hit as high temperatures and widespread fires plague region

Edward Helmore
Tue 13 Aug 2019 16.27 BST Last modified on Tue 13 Aug 2019 16.29 BST

Multiple lightning strikes have been observed 300 miles from the North Pole, according to the US National Weather Service, in the latest sign of extreme changes to the Arctic environment.

The strikes, detected by the NWS station in Fairbanks, Alaska, were produced by towering storm clouds. They were detected on Saturday, and while not unique, come as the region is experiencing record-low sea ice levels, high temperatures and widespread fires on areas of tundra.

An extreme ice-melt in Greenland is estimated to have produced a run off of 197bn tons of ice-sheet water into the Atlantic, enough to raise sea levels by 0.5mm, or 0.02in, in a one-month time frame. On a single day, 1 August, Greenland lost 12.5bn tons of surface ice to the sea.

At the same time, a wildfire has been burning in western Greenland while Siberian wildfires have produced smoke haze circling the upper regions of the globe.

According to a NWS tweet and statement, the lightning strikes hit an area of sea ice or open ocean waters mixed with ice, near 85 degrees North, 120 degrees East.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/13/north-pole-multiple-lightning-strikes-follow-record-low-sea-ice-levels

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