Temperatures in the Arctic have been rising so fast in recent decades they have confused a computer designed to measure them.

Scientists monitoring a site in Alaska have found that an algorithm at the weather station, which has been recording temperatures for nearly 100 years, deleted all of its data from 2017, and even some from 2016.

In what the experts are now calling an ‘ironic exclamation point’ to rapid climate change, the algorithm flagged the abnormal temperatures observed at the station, as it assumed they were too high to be accurate.

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When scientists set out at the beginning of December to review the previous month's climate data, they noticed something 'odd': everything from Utqiaġvik, Alaska was missing. The data from 2017 and some of 2016 had been flagged as artificial. File photo of Barrow (Utqiaġvik)

When scientists set out at the beginning of December to review the previous month’s climate data, they noticed something ‘odd’: everything from Utqiaġvik, Alaska was missing. The data from 2017 and some of 2016 had been flagged as artificial. File photo of Barrow (Utqiaġvik)

WHAT HAPPENED?

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses automated computers to gather temperature data.

Experts pre-installed an algorithm to automatically remove any false data caused by external factors such as faulty equipment.

The programme is designed to automatically keep the average temperature information as accurate as possible. 

The extreme increase in temperature was so large that it triggered the data to be deleted.

Data from all of 2017 and some of 2016 was removed. 

The team from NOAA is now working to recover the deleted information and include the lost data in its records.

The missing data comes from Utqiaġvik (previously known as Barrow), the northernmost point in the United States. 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a report earlier this month describing the unusual results.

In the blog post, Deke Arndt, Chief of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring Branch, says climate change in the region has ‘outrun’ one of their measurement tools.

The data at Utqiaġvik is gathered automatically by NOAA computers, using algorithms to detect any false results caused by broken equipment or changes to the sensors that could affect the reading.

These algorithms make sure wrong information doesn’t get to the central database and alter the average temperature recordings.

The algorithm was activated and removed the data, but not because of a broken sensor.

Instead, it was set off by the incredible temperature increase, say experts at NOAA.

In what experts are calling an 'ironic exclamation point' to rapid climate change, the scientists found that the abnormal average temperatures observed at the weather station were disqualified by its algorithm, as it assumed they were artificial. Annual temps shown above

In what experts are calling an 'ironic exclamation point' to rapid climate change, the scientists found that the abnormal average temperatures observed at the weather station were disqualified by its algorithm, as it assumed they were artificial. Annual temps shown above

In what experts are calling an ‘ironic exclamation point’ to rapid climate change, the scientists found that the abnormal average temperatures observed at the weather station were disqualified by its algorithm, as it assumed they were artificial. Annual temps shown above

As Arndt explains, ‘the average temperature observed at the weather station at Utqiaġvik has now changed so rapidly that it triggered an algorithm designed to detect artificial changes in a station’s instrumentation or environment and disqualified itself from the NCEI Alaskan temperature analysis.’

This caused the region to appear ‘a little cooler than it really was.’

The team from NOAA is now working to recover the deleted information and include the lost data in its records.

In the last year, the site has experienced rapid temperature changes, causing scientists monitoring the area to even marvel at ‘how insanely warm’ the station had been.

From October-December, the experts say the effects were especially extreme.

During October to December, temperatures in Utqiaġvik have increased by over 4 degrees Celsius since 1979. The Arctic is increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the world (stock)

During October to December, temperatures in Utqiaġvik have increased by over 4 degrees Celsius since 1979. The Arctic is increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the world (stock)

During October to December, temperatures in Utqiaġvik have increased by over 4 degrees Celsius since 1979. The Arctic is increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the world (stock)

Utqiaġvik (previously known as Barrow) is the most northerly city in the US. The weather station there has been recording data for nearly 100 years and the recent extreme temperature rise triggered an algorithm to delete the data

Utqiaġvik (previously known as Barrow) is the most northerly city in the US. The weather station there has been recording data for nearly 100 years and the recent extreme temperature rise triggered an algorithm to delete the data

Utqiaġvik (previously known as Barrow) is the most northerly city in the US. The weather station there has been recording data for nearly 100 years and the recent extreme temperature rise triggered an algorithm to delete the data

According to Arndt, ’21st century October at Utqiaġvik is a whopping 7.8°F warmer than late 20th century October.’ 

Experts believe the Arctic is increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the the world.

This has caused a significant loss to the amount of sea-ice in the area, which is crucial in maintaining a stable temperature. 

The more water there is relative to ice in the Arctic ocean, the more the temperature will increase.   

This leads to a vicious cycle which has caused the extreme rise in temperature.  

From October-December, the experts say the effects were especially extreme in Utqiaġvik. According to Arndt, '21st century October at Utqiaġvik is a whopping 7.8°F warmer than late 20th century October.' These changes can be seen in the graph above

From October-December, the experts say the effects were especially extreme in Utqiaġvik. According to Arndt, '21st century October at Utqiaġvik is a whopping 7.8°F warmer than late 20th century October.' These changes can be seen in the graph above

From October-December, the experts say the effects were especially extreme in Utqiaġvik. According to Arndt, ’21st century October at Utqiaġvik is a whopping 7.8°F warmer than late 20th century October.’ These changes can be seen in the graph above

The dramatic increases in global temperatures are not only resulting in a loss of sea-ice, but also having a direct impact on the animals in the area.

Just last week, footage emerged of a homeless, gaunt and emancipated polar bear, struggling to survive without the ice it needs to…



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