23 June 2020

The Guardian: “Climate crisis: alarm at record-breaking heatwave in Siberia”

Russian towns in the Arctic circle have recorded extraordinary temperatures, with Nizhnyaya Pesha hitting 30°C on 9 June and Khatanga, which usually has daytime temperatures of around 0°C at this time of year, hitting 25°C on 22 May. The previous record was 12°C.

In May, surface temperatures in parts of Siberia were up to 10°C above average, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). Martin Stendel, of the Danish Meteorological Institute, said the abnormal May temperatures seen in north-west Siberia would be likely to happen just once in 100,000 years without human-caused global heating.

Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at C3S, said: It is undoubtedly an alarming sign, but not only May was unusually warm in Siberia. The whole of winter and spring had repeated periods of higher-than-average surface air temperatures.

Damian Carrington

2020 began with record-breaking temperatures in Australia, followed by wildfires, which killed hundreds of millions animals, triggered rare weather phenomena such as fire clouds and ‘ember attacks’, and spewed so much ash and dust in the atmosphere that it colored glaciers in neighboring New Zeeland brown. Australia’s bushfires are also believed to have released as much as two-thirds of the nation’s annual carbon dioxide emissions in just past three months, thus greatly contributing to more global warming.

Temperature anomalies June 2020 Siberia
Temperature departures from 1979–2000 baseline, showing extreme temperatures in Siberia and parts of Canada. (Climate Reanalyzer)

Six months later, the heatwave has moved to the Arctic region in the Northern Hemisphere, again causing wildfires, along with increased permafrost melting, another factor than can accelerate global warming. Overall, 2020 is likely to become the hottest year on record – not that it will hold on to that title for long. The effects of climate change are all around us, but unfortunately the public is distracted by the coronavirus pandemic, while political leaders are busy blaming each other and undermining international cooperation. It is increasingly hard not to be pessimistic about the state of the global climate in the coming decades…

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