In February, reports of record temperatures in Antarctica made headlines: Argentine researchers first recorded the warmest day on the Antarctic mainland at 18.3 degrees Celsius since the measurement began. Shortly afterwards, this record was even topped with a measurement of more than 20 degrees near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
In the generally much more life-friendly Arctic on the other side of the world, this would be nothing special – but there as well things have been getting hot: up to 38 degrees. In the north of Russia, including the Siberian republic of Yakutia, there has been a veritable heat wave in recent weeks, and it has lasted remarkably long. As a result, wildfires in the region were unusually frequent. Some regions declared a state of emergency because of the numerous fires.
“We had extremely anomalous weather in June,” said Roman Wilfand, head of the Russian weather service. In Verkhoyansk, for example, 38 degrees Celsius was reached on 17 June. By the end of the 19th century, the Arctic city had set a very different record, namely that for a winter cold of minus 67.8 degrees.
According to Wilfand, the high temperatures are due to climate change and a change in atmospheric circulation. Polar high pressure areas are becoming increasingly common, bringing sunny weather, the weather expert said. As a result, the soil heats up more in the summer, connounting fires. According to Wilfand, these in turn contribute to warming, as the ash is deposited on the Arctic ice. This absorbs more sunlight and increases the melt.