Science

UN confirms highest temperature ever recorded in Arctic

The highest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic has been officially confirmed by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO), sounding “alarm bells” about climate change.

The temperature, a “Mediterranean” of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), which was recorded in the Siberian city of Verkhoyansk in June 2020, was measured at the peak of a prolonged heat wave. In fact, temperatures across the region that summer averaged as much as 18 F (10 C) above normal, the WMO said in a statement.

“This new Arctic record is one of a series of observations reported to the WMO Climate and Extreme Climate Archive that sound the alarm about our changing climate,” said Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary General, in the statement.

Related: Melting Pictures: See Earth’s Ice Disappearing

The WMO said that extreme heat was “more appropriate for the Mediterranean than the Arctic” and that the heat wave was a key factor in “fueling devastating fires, causing a massive loss of sea ice and playing an important role in 2020. being one of the three warmest “. years recorded. ”

According to data taken from the Russian Forestry Agency, the Siberian wildfires were the worst since records began this year, destroying an area of ​​more than 46 million acres (18.6 million hectares) of Russian forest in 2021 alone. The smoke from the huge hells even traveled to the North Pole.

Verkhoyansk is located approximately 115 kilometers (71 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, and its weather station has been taking temperature readings since 1885. The unprecedented record has forced the organization to create a new category of extreme weather monitoring. for the Arctic Circle only: the “highest temperature recorded at 66.5 ° C or north, the Arctic Circle.”

The Arctic is warming at a rate more than twice the world average, causing some extreme changes in its climates and biomes. These include a record number of “ zombie fires ” caused by burning carbon-rich peat, breaking up some of the thickest ice in the Arctic, and melting permafrost, which could release radioactive waste and awaken dormant viruses. , Live Science previously reported.

Scientists have even warned that rising Arctic temperatures could cause the polar bear to disappear later this century. Rising temperatures are also seeing the growth in numbers of a brown-polar bear hybrid called a “pizzly” bear.

According to the WMO, “it is possible, indeed probable, that major extremes will occur in the Arctic region in the future.”

The Arctic is not the only part of the world that has experienced record temperatures. In 2020, Antarctica also hit a new temperature record, taken at Argentina’s Esperanza Base, of 64.94 F (18.3 C) last year. And this year, Syracuse, Italy, recorded a temperature of 119.8 F (48.8 C), the highest temperature on record in European history, Live Science reported.

California’s Death Valley also experienced near-record heat this summer, when the mercury reached 130 F (54.4 C), Live Science reported at the time. This scorching temperature came close to tying the current record for the highest temperature ever recorded anywhere in the world – a scorching 131 F (55 C), recorded on July 7, 1931 in Kebili, Tunisia.

Originally posted on Live Science.

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