Climate Viz of the Month

October 2022

Map showing the local rate of warming relative to the global mean warming in October. This ratio is calculated for every location by taking the linear least squares trend at each point from 1979 to 2021 and dividing it by the trend of the global mean surface temperature average from 1979 to 2021. In other words, the middle orange shading for “5” means that this location is warming 5 times faster than the global average in October. Data is from ERA5 reanalysis using near-surface air temperature (2-m height). Created on 16 November 2022.

I am sure that most people reading this blog are aware that the Arctic is rapidly warming. In the annual mean, it is warming at a rate of 3 to 4 times faster than the global mean surface temperature trend. However, there is large seasonal and monthly variability in terms of this rate of warming.

This time of year, specifically October through December, is the fastest warming period in the Arctic. While there are a number of reasons for this accelerated warming in fall, it is generally related to a lack of sea ice. In the simplest terms, the mechanism (also referred to a positive feedback, but positive here does not mean good) is as follows: sea ice melts in summer – more open water is exposed due to this ice loss – rather than the ice reflecting incoming solar radiation, the dark open ocean waters now absorbs it as heat – sea ice begins to refreeze with the onset of colder temperatures in fall – the temperature difference/contrast between the ocean and overlying atmosphere begins to increase – more heat is then transferred into the atmosphere – this causes more warming and more ice loss. This cycle then repeats.

I thought it would be interesting to present this accelerated warming in terms of a local Arctic amplification factor, rather than showing long-term trends like I usually do. So, this latest ‘climate viz of the month’ shows the rate of warming at every point in the Arctic compared to the rate of warming for the overall global average during the month of October.

As you might notice, most of the Arctic is warming faster than the global average (in other words, it has a value greater than 1 on the map). More strikingly, some areas of the Arctic are warming more than 10x faster than the global average! This is usually found over areas associated with the largest long-term declines in Arctic sea-ice concentration and thickness, such as in the Chukchi, Kara, and Barents Seas regions. This includes the area surrounding Svalbard, where nearby it is warming up to 4°C per decade in fall. Clearly, this kind of warming is going to have impacts within the Arctic and beyond…

As my recent blogs have discussed though, not every month of year will break new temperature and sea ice records. In fact, October 2022 was “only” the 6th warmest October on record in the Arctic, and even sea-ice thickness levels are rather unremarkable compared to some recent years. But obviously, dramatic changes are occurring in the Arctic, even when compared more broadly to global climate change. Thanks for stopping by! You can always find my older blogs from this year at https://zacklabe.com/blog-archive-2022/ and the associated climate data rankings at https://zacklabe.com/archive-2022/.

Climate summary for October 2022 —
Changes in mean surface air temperature anomalies (GISTEMPv4; 1951-1980 baseline), mean Arctic sea ice extent (NSIDC; Sea Ice Index v3), and mean Arctic sea ice volume (PIOMAS v2.1; Zhang and Rothrock, 2003) over the satellite era. Updated 11/15/2022.

Archive of Page:

  • Visualization blogs for 2022
  • Climate data rankings for 2022

  • Other climate year statistics:

  • Data Archive – 2021
  • Data Archive – 2020
  • Data Archive – 2019
  • Data Archive – 2018
  • Data Archive – 2017
  • Data Archive – 2016
  • Data Archive – 2015
  • Data Archive – 2014
  • Data Archive – 2013
  • Data Archive – 2012

    My visualizations:

  • Arctic Climate Seasonality and Variability
  • Arctic Sea Ice Extent and Concentration
  • Arctic Sea Ice Volume and Thickness
  • Arctic Temperatures
  • Antarctic Sea Ice Extent and Concentration
  • Climate Change Indicators
  • Climate model projections compared to observations in the Arctic
  • Global Sea Ice Extent and Concentration
  • Polar Climate Change Figures
  • Climate Viz of the Month

  • The views presented here only reflect my own. These figures may be freely distributed (with credit). Information about the data can be found on my references page and methods page.