Temperatures in Arctic Siberia soared to a record average for June amid a heat wave that is stoking some of the worst wildfires the region has ever known, EU data showed yesterday.
Global temperatures last month were on par with last year’s record and “exceptional warmth” was recorded over Arctic Siberia, the EU’s Earth observation program Copernicus said, part of a trend scientists are calling a “warning cry.”
Average temperatures in the region were more than 5°C above normal and more than 1°C higher than the two previous warmest Junes, in 2018 and last year, the data showed.
The World Meteorological Organization is also seeking to confirm reports of a temperature reading of more than 38°C in Siberia, which would be the highest temperature recorded north of the Arctic Circle.
“What is worrisome is that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world,” Copernicus Climate Change Service director Carlo Buontempo said.
The exceptional heat has sapped moisture from the Earth across the region’s vast boreal forests and tundra, fanning wildfires that have intensified since last month.
The Russian forestry agency said that, as of Monday, there were 246 forest fires covering 140,073 hectares and an emergency situation has been declared in seven regions.
Russian state TV footage this week showed planes dumping water near huge columns of white smoke.
Copernicus said the fires have surpassed the record number of blazes seen in the region in the same month of last year.
“Higher temperatures and drier surface conditions are providing ideal conditions for these fires to burn and to persist for so long over such a large area,” Copernicus senior scientist Mark Parrington said.
Wildfire carbon dioxide emissions from the region last month were an estimated 59 megatonnes, compared with 53 megatonnes last year, the EU said.
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