CLIMATE change in the Arctic is developing much faster than elsewhere on the planet, and frustratingly the ageing satellites that provide much of the information will not be replaced, at least until it is too late.

However land based measurements, and those made at sea, still provide compelling evidence of the rate at which our behaviour is distorting the climate, particularly in an area of the globe that few of us will ever see.

The rate of change is not helped by local colour. Normally at the end of winter when the sun shines again on much of this area the heat has been reflected by the white snow covered ice, and only absorbed when it warms the darker ocean surface when the ice has melted.

However close inspection of the surface of the ice, particularly that in Greenland, shows that it’s often dark due to algae, and this encourages the melting of even more ice. This natural impact is aided by even darker coloured dust from deserts and soot from global power plants, forest fires and transport.

The increased melting means more warming, and since 1979 the sea ice cover has been melting earlier, by 20 days a decade, with the result that in each of the last three years the ice extent has set records for the lowest area covered, with temperatures raised by up to five degrees.

The sea surface temperature in August, 2016 was again five degrees above the average for the previous thirty years so it’s not surprising that the amount of two year old, and even older ice has been declining rapidly. It was about half the volume of twenty years ago and now over the last couple of years it’s about one fifth, and still declining.

These changes will certainly influence the UK weather, and it might not be what we expect..