Last week, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US noticed that one of their key climate monitoring stations was not showing up on the map. All of the data for Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the US had gone missing. According to experts, the missing station was the result of rapid, man-made climate change with a runaway effect on the Arctic.
The temperature in Barrow had been rising so rapidly this year, the data was automatically flagged as unreal and removed from the climate database. It was done by algorithms that were put in place to ensure that only the best data was included in NOAA's reports. According to experts, the algorithms help to keep the data sets clean, but this kind of quality-control algorithm is fine only in ''average'' situations with no outliers, which is not the situation in Barrow.
With the Arctic warming faster than any other place on earth, Barrow finds itself in the thick of the change. Further, with less and less sea ice to reflect sunlight, the temperature around the North Pole is speeding upward.
According to Deke Arndt, the chief of NOAA's Climate Monitoring Branch, the missing data served as ''an ironic exclamation point to swift regional climate change in and near the Arctic.''
According to the NOAA report, Arctic Ocean temperatures are increasing and sea ice is declining at the fastest rate in at least 1,500 years.
The report's subtitle states it starkly: ''Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades.''
Jeremy Mathis, with NOAA's Arctic Research Program summed it up saying the Arctic is now going through ''the most unprecedented transition in human history''.
''We want every single American to know the changes happening in the Arctic will not stay in the Arctic,'' Mathis said, The Washington Post reported. ''These changes will impact all of our lives.''
Comparing the Arctic to the planet's refrigerator, Mathis said: ''But the door to that refrigerator has been left open.''
''And the cold is spilling out, cascading throughout the Northern Hemisphere.''