Arctic records its hottest temperature ever
The alarming heat seared Siberia on Saturday when the small town of Verkhoyansk (67.5 degrees north latitude) reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, 32 degrees above normal high temperature. If checked, this is probably the hottest temperature ever measured in Siberia, and also the hottest temperature ever measured north of the Arctic Circle, starting at 66.5 ° N.
The city is 3,000 miles east of Moscow and further north than Fairbanks in Alaska. On Friday, the city of Caribou, Maine, set a record at 96 degrees Fahrenheit, and was back in the 90s on Saturday. To put this in perspective, the city of Miami, Florida has only reached 100 degrees once since the city began keeping temperature records in 1896.
Probably the hottest temperature ever measured in the Arctic happened today - 100.4 F - What happens in Siberia this year is remarkable. We expect the type of weather until 2100, 80 years earlier. For perspective, Miami has only reached 100 degrees once. https://t.co/WDPRmLRD4d
- Jeff Berardelli (@WeatherProf), June 20, 2020
Verkhoyansk is typically one of the coldest places on earth. Last November, the area hit almost 60 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, one of the first points to drop so low in winter 2019-2020. The scene below is certainly more characteristic of Eastern Siberia.
Reaching 100 degrees in or near the Arctic is almost unknown. Although the reading is questionable, the city of Prospect Creek in Alaska, not quite as far north as Verkhoyansk, is said to have reached close to 100 degrees in 1915. And in 2010 a city reached 100 a few miles south of the Arctic Circle in Russia.
As a result of the hot and dry conditions, numerous fires rage nearby, and smoke is visible on satellite images for thousands of kilometers.
Satellite image today with extensive smoke and fires east of Verkhoyansk. The blue colored ice in the Laptev Sea is an indication of melting ice and a lot of open water is visible in the East Siberian Sea. pic.twitter.com/BemW0fccrq
- Kilkenny Weather (@kilkennyweather) June 20, 2020
This heat is not an isolated case. Parts of Siberia have been sizzling for weeks and have been remarkably above normal since January. May showed amazing warmth in Western Siberia, where some places were 18 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for not just a day, but a month. Overall, Western Siberia was an average of 10 degrees above normal in May, wiping out everything that had previously been experienced.
On May 23, the Siberian city of Khatanga, far north of the Arctic Circle, reached 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This was 46 degrees above normal and shook the previous record by an unprecedented 22 degrees. On June 9, Nizhnyaya Pesha, an area 900 miles northeast of Moscow, near the Barents Sea of the Arctic Ocean, reached a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit, an astonishing 30 degrees above normal.
What may be even more impressive is that this relative heat has been going on since December and average temperatures in Western Siberia are 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal - doubling the previous deviation from the average in 2016.
west siberian surface air temp.png
The average heat across Russia from January to May is so remarkable that it corresponds to what is expected to be normal by 2100 if the current trends in carbon emissions that capture heat continue. In the figure below, the data point for 2020 is almost outside the diagrams and corresponds to the climate models that should be typical in many decades.
A remarkable event. A foretaste of the average conditions at the end of the century under a high-emission scenario (RCP 8.5) in the MPI climate model. https://t.co/iwPaB7bS07 pic.twitter.com/O8qBtV3bxe
- Flavio Lehner (@ClimateFlavors), June 14, 2020
The extreme events of recent years are due to a combination of natural weather patterns and man-made climate change. The weather pattern that leads to this heat wave is an incredibly stubborn high pressure comb. a heat dome that extends vertically up through the atmosphere. The oppressive heat is expected to continue for at least the next week and the temperatures in Eastern Siberia will catapult slightly into the 1990s.
We are in a relentless Arctic #wave - Siberia is literally on fire right now and it will go on. The temperatures within the Arctic Circle will exceed at least + 30 ° C in the next 10 days. It is stunning + 20-25 ° C warmer than it should be ... [THREAD] pic.twitter.com/J9opJLIaIw
- Scott from Scotland (@ScottDuncanWX), June 19, 2020
However, this heat wave cannot be viewed as an isolated weather pattern. Last summer, the city of Markusvinsa, a village in northern Sweden on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle, reached 94.6 ° F. The warming and drying of the landscape led to unprecedented fires in the Arctic, with summer 2019 being the worst fire season ever.
The Arctic heats up more than twice as fast as the world average due to the heat trap greenhouse gases that result from burning fossil fuels and feedback loops. This phenomenon is known as arctic reinforcement, which due to the rapidly warming temperatures leads to the decrease in sea ice and in some cases the snow cover.
The volume of sea ice has decreased by 50% in the past four decades. The lack of white ice and the corresponding increase in dark ocean and land areas mean that less light is reflected and more is absorbed, creating a feedback loop and heating the area disproportionately.
As the average climate continues to warm up, extremes like the current heat wave become more frequent and intense. Scientists say there is only one way to mitigate the effects of climate change, namely to stop the burning of fossil fuels.
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