The World Meteorological Organization has confirmed that the 38 degrees Celsius recorded on June 20, 2020 in Verkhoyansk, Russia, is the highest temperature on record in the Arctic region. It is a temperature, which they explained, is “more typical of the Mediterranean than of the Arctic”.

The temperature was recorded at a local weather station during the period when Siberia was hit by a heat wave. All this happened despite the fact that it is one of the coldest regions on the planet. However, today, December 14, the WMO has confirmed that this temperature was real.

Verkhoyansk is located 115 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, and its weather station has been taking measurements since 1885. Last year, Siberia had temperatures for much of the summer months that were up to 10 degrees above the local average, contributing to devastating fires in the area and a large loss of ice mass.

The record of all this data has proven that the summer of 2020 was one of the three warmest summers ever recorded globally by the World Meteorological Organization, they explained. The confirmation of this record is a further sign of climate change, stressed the organization’s secretary general, Petteri Taalas, who recalled that in 2020 a record temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius was also measured in Antarctica.

Climate change

The recording of all this data is undoubtedly an effect of climate change, with the Arctic being one of the areas that, right now, is being most affected. This is because the polar ice caps are melting as global warming progresses. In fact, a rate of 13% of Arctic sea ice has been lost.

Moreover, in the last 30 years, the oldest and thickest Arctic ice has shrunk by a staggering 95%, according to the latest studies in this part of the world. Therefore, it is estimated that if emissions continue to increase unchecked, it could lead to ice-free summer months in the Arctic, a dire consequence for the planet as a whole.

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