As the whole ocean gets warmer, NOAA scientists must redefine what they consider “average” temperature in the central tropical Pacific, where they keep watch for El Niño and La Niña.

The summer of 2012 brought Greenland far more extensive melt than anything observed in the satellite record: in July 2012, surface melt extended over nearly the entire ice sheet. The standardized melt index was nearly double the previous record.

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