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Temperature departures from average projected during the next three days, showing extreme temperatures in Siberia and parts of Canada. (Climate Reanalyzer)
On Saturday, the northeastern Siberian town of Verkhoyansk experienced a record-breaking temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the measurement is confirmed it would be the hottest on record anywhere in the Arctic.
As the Washington Post explained, on Sunday, the same location recorded a high temperature of 95.3 degrees (35.2 Celsius), showing the Saturday reading was not an anomaly. The average June high temperature in Verkhoyansk is just 68 degrees (20 Celsius).
Verkhoyansk, is a town in northeast Russia about 260 miles south of the Arctic coast and about 6 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Its previous high-temperature record was set in July of 1988 at 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature records have been kept in Verkhoyansk since 1885, which emphasizes just how jarring this new record is.
Why This Matters: The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and in Siberia these effects have been especially damaging. The Post explained that in 2020, Siberia has stood out for its above-extreme temperatures, which have:
accelerated the melting of snow and ice;
contributed to permafrost melt, which led to a major oil spill;
and have gotten the Siberian wildfire season off to an unusually early and severe start.
This record high temperature is one more indication that climate change is causing dangerous warming for our planet.
Trouble in Siberia: As CNN reported, surface temperatures in Siberia were up to 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average last month, making it the vast Russian region’s hottest May since records began in 1979, according to research by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), a program affiliated with the European Commission.
According to climate scientist Martin Stendel, the temperature deviation in northwestern Siberia last month would happen only once in 100,000 years if it weren’t for climate change.
Russia’s Response: Climate change in Siberia is literally destabilizing the ground upon which people live. And the regions’ thawing permafrost has consequences for the rest of the world. But as a nation, Russia has not come forward with anything close to an ambitious climate change plane. Instead, the nation touted the positive economic advantages that climate change would bring to the Arctic circle. Additionally, the nation’s plan to address climate change by 2030 at the UN was largely considered “baby steps” in comparison to the measures that must actually be taken to protect vulnerable regions like Siberia.
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