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The Arctic is on fire: record heat has been recorded in Siberia, which at times increases the pace of global warming

On Saturday, June 20, in the Russian Arctic city of Verkhoyansk, the thermometer reached a record high of 38 degrees Celsius (100,4 degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature is high enough for anywhere in the world, but it is Siberia, and it is known for being frozen. The World Meteorological Organization has stated that it is checking temperature readings that were unprecedented for the region north of the Arctic Circle. Writes about this Fox News.

Photo: Shutterstock

“The Arctic is burning figuratively and literally - it is warming up much faster than we thought it would be in response to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and this warming is leading to rapid melting and more fires,” said the expert on Climate from the University of Michigan Jonathan Overpeck.

“Record warming in Siberia is a warning sign of significant proportions,” Overpek said.

Most of Siberia already had high temperatures in 2020, which were atypical for this region. From January to May, the average temperature in the north-central part of Siberia was about 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.

“It's much, much warmer than it has ever been in this region,” said Earth climate specialist Zeke Hausfather.

Siberia is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for extreme temperatures. This is the place where the thermometer moves 106 degrees Celsius (190 degrees Fahrenheit) from a minimum of minus 68 degrees Celsius (minus 90 Fahrenheit) to 38 degrees Celsius (100,4 Fahrenheit).

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For residents of the Sakha Republic in the Russian Arctic, a heat wave is not necessarily a bad thing. Vasilisa Ivanova spent every day this week with her family, swimming and sunbathing.

“We spent all day on the banks of the Lena River,” said Ivanova, who lives in the village of Zhigansk, 270 miles from where the heat record was set. "We came to swim every day."

But for scientists, "it's a worrying sign," Overpeck wrote.

Such prolonged Siberian warmth has not been observed for millennia, and “this is another sign that the Arctic is increasing global warming even more than we thought,” Overpeck said. The Arctic regions of Russia have one of the fastest warming rates in the world.

The temperature on Earth over the past few decades has risen by an average of 0,18 degrees Celsius (almost a third of a degree Fahrenheit) every 10 years. But in Russia it increases by 0,47 degrees Celsius (0,85 degrees Fahrenheit), and in the Russian Arctic - by 0,69 degrees Celsius (1,24 degrees Fahrenheit) every ten years, said Andrey Kiselev, host a scientist from the Moscow Main Geophysical Observatory. Voeikova.

“In this respect, we are ahead of the entire planet,” said Kiselev.

The rise in temperature in Siberia has been associated with prolonged forest fires, which are intensifying every year, and the thawing of permafrost is a huge problem, because buildings and pipelines are being built on them. Thawing permafrost also releases more heat-trapping gas and dries up the soil, which intensifies fires, says Vladimir Romanovsky, who studies permafrost at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

“In this case, it is even more serious, because the previous winter was unusually warm,” said Romanovsky. According to Romanovsky, the permafrost thaws, the ice melts, the soil dries up, and this can cause a feedback loop that worsens the thawing of the permafrost, and "cold winters cannot stop it."

The catastrophic oil spill from a destroyed reservoir last month near the Arctic city of Norilsk was partially guilty of thawing permafrost. In 2011, part of a residential building in Yakutsk, the largest city in the Republic of Sakha, collapsed due to thawing and subsidence of the soil.

According to Greenpeace, in August 2019, more than 4 million hectares of forests in Siberia burned. This year, fires started much earlier than usual, in early July, said Vladimir Chuprov, director of the Greenpeace Russia project department.

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Permanently warm weather, especially in combination with forest fires, leads to rapid thawing of permafrost, which in turn exacerbates global warming, emitting large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide, said Katie Walter Anthony of University of Alaska.

“Methane escaping from permafrost thaws enters the atmosphere and circulates around the globe,” she said. - Methane released in the Arctic does not remain in the Arctic. This has global implications. "

And what happens in the Arctic can even distort the weather in the United States and Europe.

In summer, unusual warming reduces the temperature and pressure differences between the Arctic and lower latitudes, where more people live, says Judah Cohen, an expert on winter weather at Atmospheric Environmental Research.

According to meteorologists at the Russian meteorological agency Roshydromet, a combination of factors - such as a high-pressure system with clear skies and a very hot sun, extremely long daytime hours and short warm nights - contributed to the temperature spike in Siberia.

“The surface of the earth is heating up intensively. The nights are very warm, the air does not have time to cool down and continues to heat up for several days, ”said Marina Makarova, chief meteorologist of Roshydromet.

Makarova added that the temperature in Verkhoyansk remained unusually high from Friday, June 19, through Monday, June 22.

Scientists agree that the leap indicates a much greater global warming trend.

“The key point is that the climate is changing and global temperatures are rising,” said Freya Wamborg, Senior Scientist, Copernicus Climate Change Service in the UK. "We will be breaking more and more records."

“What is clear is that warming in the Arctic is adding fuel to a warming planet,” said Walid Abdalati, a former NASA chief scientist who now works at the University of Colorado.

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