‘A first in all of recorded history’: 100.4°F Arctic heat moves meteorologist to declare ‘a climate emergency’

descriptive map of arctic heat

Screenshot / @ScottDuncanWX

A record-shattering Arctic heatwave reached 100.4° in Siberia on Saturday.

The town of Verkhoyansk, which is about 3,000 miles east of Moscow, will have the northernmost recorded 100-degree temperature if the data is found to be accurate, according to The Weather Channel. Record-keeping to measure Arctic heat began in 1885.

The same location reached another recorded high temperature of 95.3° on Sunday. The town’s average high temperature in June is in the mid-60s and the previous record high temperature was 99.1°.

The Washington Post describes the likeliness that this record Arctic temperature will be verified:

While some questions remain about the accuracy of the Verkhoyansk temperature measurement, data from a Saturday weather balloon launch at that location supports the 100-degree reading. Temperatures in the lower atmosphere, at about 5,000 feet, also were unusually warm at 70 degrees (21 Celsius), a sign of extreme heat at the surface.

The extreme heat in the Arctic Circle has been alarming scientists. Scientists have found links in what The Guardian calls “freak temperatures” to wildfires, a plague of tree-eating moths, and an oil spill.

“This scares me, I have to say,” Bill McKibben, environmentalist and 350.org co-founder, tweeted in response to the news.




Meteorologist Eric Holthaus also tweeted in response to the Arctic heat. “100°F about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle today in Siberia. That’s a first in all of recorded history,” he said. “We are in a climate emergency.”

Climate activist and conservationist Charlie Gardner tweeted that the Siberian heatwave is “beyond terrifying.”

Human activity is linked to extreme Arctic heat

The Siberian Arctic, as well as the rest of the Arctic is seeing rapidly-increasing heat from human-caused climate change.

NASA explains that human activity is changing the natural cycle of the earth or the “natural greenhouse.” Burning fossil fuels over the last century has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide. During the burning process, coal or oil combines carbon with oxygen in the air to create carbon dioxide. Cutting down trees for agriculture or logging, to a lesser extent, has also increased the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Scientists state that it is difficult to predict the exact effects of human-caused climate change, however, the following effects seem likely and are already being seen:

  • Earth will get warmer, as we are seeing now with Siberia’s record-smashing Arctic heat. Other areas may not get warmer.
  • Warmer conditions may lead to more precipitation and evaporation. Some areas will get wetter and others, dryer.
  • Oceans will get warmer, glaciers and ice will partially melt, thus raise sea-levels. Ocean water will expand as it warms, rising sea-levels further.
  • Some crops and plants may respond favorably to increased carbon in the atmosphere, growing more vigorously, while more efficiently using water. Shifting climate patterns may also affect the natural plant communities, changing where crops grow best.

How to combat the human-caused climate crisis

Front Page Live previously reported on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

Reducing your carbon footprint is one way to combat the human-caused climate change contributing to rising Arctic heat. On a systematic level, scientists say the only way to reduce rapidly increasing extreme heat is halting the burning of fossil fuels.

“To stop global warming, we’ll need to zero out greenhouse gas emissions from billions of different sources worldwide: every coal plant in China, every steel mill in Europe, every car and truck on American highways,” Brad Plumer, climate policy reporter with The New York Times, says. Plumer adds that other climate crisis solutions involve, cleaning up electric power plants, electrifying the economy, and fixing farming.


DISCLAIMER: This article was produced in partnership with Earth Day Network. In a democracy, every voice matters. Click here to pledge to vote on environmental progress in 2020. Thank you.

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