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The Arctic is on fire: The Siberian heat wave alarms scientists

The Arctic is figuratively and literally on fire its heating much faster than we thought it would respond to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and this heat is leading to a rapid melting and rising of fires, University of Michigan dean of the environmental school Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist, said in an email.

The record-breaking heat in Siberia is a warning sign of large size, Overpeck wrote.

Much of Siberia had high temperatures this year that were beyond unreasonable heat. From January to May, the average temperature in north-central Siberia was about 8 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) above average, according to the science of climate, nonprofit Berkeley Earth.

Thats much, much warmer than it has ever been over that region at that time, said climate scientist on Earth Berkeley, Zeke Hausfather.

Siberia is in the Guinness Book of World Records for its extreme temperatures. It is a place where the thermometer has shaken 106 degrees Celsius (190 degrees Fahrenheit), from a low minus 68 degrees Celsius (minus 90 Fahrenheit) so far 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit).

For residents of the Sakha Republic in the Russian Arctic, a heat wave is not necessarily a bad thing. Vasilisa Ivanova spent every day this week with her family swimming and sunbathing.

We spend all day on the banks of the Lena River, said Ivanova, who lives in the village of Zhigansk, 270 miles (430 kilometers) from where the heat record was set. We have been coming every day since Monday.

But for scientists, alarm bells should ring, Overpeck wrote.

Such prolonged Siberian warming has not been seen for thousands of years and is another sign that the Arctic is amplifying global warming even more than we thought, Overpeck said.

Russia Arctic regions are among the fastest heating zones in the world.

Temperatures on Earth have been rising over the past few decades, averaging 0.18 degrees Celsius (almost a third of a degree Fahrenheit) every 10 years. But in Russia it rises by 0.47 degrees Celsius (0.85 degrees Fahrenheit) and in the Russian Arctic by 0.69 degrees Celsius (1.24 degrees Fahrenheit) every decade, said Andrei Kisyov, chief scientist at the Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory based in Moscow.

In this regard, they were before the whole planet, said Kisyov.

Rising temperatures in Siberia have been linked to prolonged fires that grow heavier each year, and melting permafrost is a major problem because buildings and pipelines have been built on them. The permafrost melt also releases more heat-blocking gas and dries out the soil, which increases fires, said Vladimir Romanovsky, who studies the spreads at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

In this case it is even more serious, because last winter was extremely warm, said Romanovsky. Spread absorption, melting ice, soil shrinks and can then trigger a reaction loop that worsens melting melt and cold winters cannot stop it, Romanovsky said.

A catastrophic oil spill from a collapsed storage tank last month near the Arctic town of Norilsk was partly blamed for the melting of the permafrost. In 2011, part of a residential building in Yakutsk, the largest city in the Republic of Yakut, collapsed due to melting and landslides.

Last August, more than 4 million hectares of forest in Siberia were on fire, according to Greenpeace. This year fires have already begun to recede much earlier than the usual start in July, said Vladimir Chuprov, director of the project department at Greenpeace Russia.

The constantly warm weather, especially if accompanied by fires, causes the permafrost to melt faster, which in turn worsens global warming by releasing large amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide. , said Katey Walter Anthony, an Alaska University Fairbanks expert on methane release from frozen Arctic soil.

Methane that escapes from permafrost melting sites enters the atmosphere and circulates throughout the globe, she said. Methane originating in the Arctic does not lie in the Arctic. There are global ramifications.

And what is happening in the Arctic could even ruin the weather in the United States and Europe.

In the summer, unusual heating lowers the temperature and changes the pressure between the Arctic and low latitudes, where more people live, said Judah Cohen, a winter weather expert at Atmospheric Environment Research, a trading firm outside Boston.

This seems to weaken and sometimes even stall in the course of aircraft, which means that weather systems such as those that bring extreme heat or rain can stay parked in places for days, Cohen said.

According to meteorologists at the Russian weather agency Rosgidrome t, a combination of factors such as a high pressure system with a clear sky and very high sun, extremely long daylight hours and short warm nights have contributed to Siberian temperature point.

The soil surface heats up intensely. . At night they are very warm, the air does not have time to cool down and continues to heat for several days, said Marina Makarova, chief meteorologist at Rosgidromet.

Makarova added that the temperature in Verkhoyansk remained extremely high from Friday to Monday.

Scientists agree that the stalk is an indicator of a much larger global warming trend.

The main point is that the climate is changing and global temperatures are warming, said Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at the UK’s Climate Change Service in Copernicus. We will break more and more records as we go.

What is clear is that the Arctic of heat adds fuel to the warming of the entire planet, said Waleed Abdalati, a former NASA lead scientist who is now at the University of Colorado.

Borenstein reported from Washington. Writers from the Associated Press, Jim Heintz in Moscow, Frank Jordans in Berlin, Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Roman Kutukov in Yakutsk, Russia, contributed to the report.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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