Recently scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were putting together a monthly report on the climate, but noticed one of their monitoring stations had completely fallen on off the map. In fact, all the data collected from the station in Barrow, Alaska, was missing.
The northernmost city hadn't disappeared and the monitoring station was still operational, but the missing data was the result of rapid climate change.
Average monthly temperature in Barrow
Temperatures in Barrow have been warming so fast this year that data was automatically flagged as unreal and removed. This is all done by computers that make sure only the most accurate data gets included in the organization's reports, but it's difficult to do so when this is the first situation of this type.
The poles — where the city is closest to — are the fastest warming place on Earth, according to NASA. Overall the planet has warmed by 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 40 years, but the poles have warmed by a staggering 3.5 degrees in the same time.
The Arctic had its second warmest summer in 2017 and its first warmest in 2016, with the lowest amount of sea ice recorded ever. As the area gets warmer, it becomes more at-risk for non-native plant species to appear. It's clear this is happening when you compare temperatures, with most months in the second half of the year ringing at quite a bit higher than 2016.
For now, the temperatures are once again being reported in the data sets, but this signals a new need for scientists to make sure that in the future, useful data doesn't get left out of the reports again.