- The Siberian town of Verkhoyansk hit 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, following months of record-breaking heat in the Arctic Circle.
- Last winter was the hottest in Siberia since temperatures were first recorded 130 years ago, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there’s a 75% chance that 2020 could be the hottest year on record.
- If not for climate change, Siberia’s record-breaking temperatures would be “a one in 100,000 year event,” one scientist said.
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The Arctic Circle hit temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday. If verified, it would be the region’s hottest day on record.
The Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 32 degrees higher than normal temperatures,CBS News reported. The same day, extensive fires blazed east of Verkhoyansk, satellite images show. On the East Siberian Sea, north of the town, those images showed open water instead of ice.
Satellite image today showing extensive smoke and fires east of Verkhoyansk. Blue coloured ice in Laptev Sea is an indication of melting ice and there is lots of open water visible in the East Siberian Sea. pic.twitter.com/BemW0fccrq
— Kilkenny Weather (@kilkennyweather) June 20, 2020
The Siberian town, about 3,000 miles east of Moscow, Russia, is historically one of the coldest places on Earth. Last November, temperatures dropped to almost -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Siberian temperatures have broken records in the past several months, however, and last winter was “the hottest in Siberia since records began 130 years ago,” Marina Makarova, chief meteorologist at Russia’s Rosgidromet weather service, told The Guardian.
In late May, Khatanga recorded 78 degrees Fahrenheit, CBS News reported. Two weeks later, Nizhnyaya Pesha reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The month of May was 50 degrees higher than average in western Siberia.
If not for man-made climate change, Siberia’s record-shattering heat would be “a 1 in 100,000 year event,” Martin Stendel, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said on social media.
Temperature anomalies in May 2020, expressed as standard deviations from the average 1981-2010 in the @CopernicusECMWF #ERA5 reanalysis. Note the 5σ deviation in northwestern Siberia, would be a 1 in 100000 year event for a normal distribution of anomalies without climate change. pic.twitter.com/29u87uJ88o
— Martin Stendel (@MartinStendel) June 9, 2020
Searing, record-breaking heat is also occurring in the United States.
Caribou, Maine, hit a record 96 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday and stayed in the 90s through Saturday. Nearly 2,000 miles away in Miami, temperatures have only reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit once since 1896, when the city began recording temperatures, according to CBS News.
Meterologists said earlier this year that 2020 is on pace to be one of the hottest years ever. “It is virtually certain that 2020 will be a top 10 year,” the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in April, and there’s a 75% chance it could be the hottest on record.
Climate change will be felt most severely in the Global South, especially among the poor and working class. But the United States “is projected to receive the second most devastating economic effects of climate change,” wrote political theorist Ajay Singh Chaudhary, executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Climate change will deepen global inequality and conflict, he warned.
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