Rising temperatures at poles contribute to mild winter, expert says

Last 3 years have seen record warmth
Rising temperatures at poles contribute to mild winter, expert says

Five days of record-breaking high temperatures in southern Wisconsin is unusual, but not unheard of.

“There have been other warm spells in the past. It is unusual, but it happens,” said Gregory Tripoli, a professor and chair of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Atmosphere and Oceanic Sciences Department.

What concerns Tripoli is not a few warm days in February but a pattern that has been developing.

“So the question is, is this unusual? I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen it 20 years, 30 years ago. It has happened before. But it is happening a lot this year,” Tripoli said.

And he says data shows temperatures have been rising for the last few years.

“We’ve had record warmth globally, three years in a row, and they keep getting warmer each year,” Tripoli said.

According to Tripoli, the source of the warming can be traced to the poles, where temperatures have been rising faster.

“What we’re seeing this year is the poles are extremely warm. At the North Pole, we’re hardly building an ice cap, and what we do have up there is very thin, and I think this is particularly responsible for the lack of cold air from the north,” Tripoli said.