World sweats through warmest winter on record

Congratulations, global citizens, for weathering the warmest winter in the Northern Hemisphere since record-keeping began in 1880. From December to February, combined land and ocean temperatures were 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit above average, says a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study published Friday in Science. El Niño helped make January the warmest January ever; the only places in the world that did not experience above-average temperatures were Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the central U.S. Another study published in Science on Friday suggests that the North Pole — where end-of-summer ice has declined 8.6 percent per decade, or 38,000 square miles per year, since the 1970s — could be end-of-summer ice-free by 2100. And that’s the conservative estimate; one climate model predicts a watery September Arctic by 2040. Yet another study published in Science on Friday cites concerns about the effect on sea-level rise of four glaciers in the Antarctic. And you thought Mondays were bad.