At this point, I think it is safe to say that 2020 is working hard at becoming one of the worst years in human history. Global pandemics, massive swarms of locusts, powerful storms, racial tensions, and a host of other challenges have definitely made this a year for the history books, and we’re not even halfway through it yet. But just in case you were look for further proof that these are indeed strange times that we’re living in, over the weekend record high temperatures his Siberia in Russia, where the mercury climbed above 100ºF/37.8ºC for the first time ever.
The Arctic has been seeing incredibly warm temperatures for the past month, with the current spring going down as the warmest ever recorded in Siberia—a place that is typically viewed as one of the coldest on the planet. In fact, meteorologist and Cornell University professor Jeff Berardelli goes so far as to speculate that that the high temperature recorded in a town called Verkhoyansk may be the warmest ever recorded above the Arctic Circle. Officially, that temperature clocked in at 100.4ºF, which equates to 38ºC on the dot.
2019 was officially the warmest year on record in Siberia, but 2020 looks like it could make last year’s temperatures look like child’s play. Just how bad has it been thus far? In May, the region routinely hit temperatures that were 40ºF above average for that time of the year. Yes, you read that right 40º. That is staggering and its already having a profound impact on the climate there, as forest fires have already erupted in some areas. The sea ice extant for the Arctic was also at historically low levels in May too, rain more alarms with climatologists.
I know that at the moment we’re all consumed with the various other things that are happening around the globe. The coronavirus in particular continues to be a difficult and dangerous foe. But climate change hasn’t gone away while we’ve been facing these other challenges, it has just gotten pushed further down the list of priorities. Siberia is feeling the impact of global warming right now however, and its highly possible that the so-called “tipping points” that we’ve been hearing about for decades have finally come and gone while we’ve been busy elsewhere.
Let’s hope the second half of 2020 goes better than the first.
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