Just about all of Europe is shivering right now thanks to the terrifyingly named “Beast from the East” cold front pouring in from Siberia.
Bringing temperatures well below freezing, the Beast has already led to the deaths of at least two dozen people across the continent, from Romania to France. Italian cities such as Rome, which is normally in the mid-40s (Fahrenheit) by February, are seeing dumps of snowfall shut down city schools and streets.
The UK Met Office has sent out an “Amber” alert in London, warning its residents of a high potential for heavy snowfall, and Germany has reported an average temperature of 14(F) across the entire country.
Meanwhile, scientists are sounding alarms over record-high February temperatures being recorded in the Arctic Ocean, which is also experiencing record low ice levels.
Records from Cape Morris Jessup at the Northernmost tip of Greenland report that parts of the Arctic Ocean are seeing temperatures as high as 14(F), or 30 degrees above normal.
The extreme event continues to unfold in the high #Arctic today in response to a surge of moisture and "warmth"
— Zack Labe (@ZLabe) February 25, 2018
The extremes of this unprecedented weather means that there are parts of southern Europe that are currently colder than Iceland, which is just a handful of miles below the Arctic Circle.
It is down to mostly -15 to -30 °C in most of NE and N Europe this morning, with some values approaching -40 °C. Note the difference between N Scandinavia and Iceland!! Map: @meteociel pic.twitter.com/XqWY6aL2ub
— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) February 26, 2018
Unfortunately, some scientists are saying we should expect more extreme lows in the Northern Hemisphere during the winter as Arctic ice continues to melt. As of now, the ice floating in the arctic is only covering 8.76 million square miles in size, or over half a million fewer than normal.
Low ice levels have allowed warm air to flow farther north, disrupting the Jet Stream. This year that warm air split the Polar Vortex, which normally traps cold air near the North Pole, allowing frigid arctic air to pour into Europe via Russia. This is known as “Wacc-y”, or “Warm Arctic, cold continent” weather.
The “Beast” is expected to keep temperatures across Europe below freezing throughout the week.