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Arctic Circle Witnesses Highest Ever Temperature

Arctic Ice Melting
Arctic Ice Melting

“It was reported in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk amid a prolonged Siberian heatwave and an increase in wildfire activity.”

Tweet by Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General
Tweet by Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

Record High Temperatures

The authorities in Russia confirmed the temperature observations. The Eastern Siberian region has now become the centre of extreme weathers and temperatures, the temperature is above 38C, which is extremely unusual for this time of the year.

A few months back, the Argentine research base, Esperanza on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, reported a record temperature of 18.4C in February. Siberia also witnesses prolonged Siberian heatwaves and wildfires. Data from WMO show that this year's temperature in May was the warmest temperature ever recorded in the northern hemisphere.

Declining Ice Mass

Tweet by WMO
Tweet by WMO

The artic sea ice declined by more than 50%, following the melting season in September 2019, compared to the average from 1979 to 2019. WMO verification has been approving these observations.

“Those data will then be very carefully examined by an international panel of atmospheric scientists who, once they discussed it, will make a recommendation as to whether or not the observation is valid. The end result will be incredibly valuable information that will help climate scientists better understand climate, engineers, and medical doctors better prepare for climate extremes and even the general public in achieving a better appreciation of climate change across this planet," said Professor Randall Cerveny, WMO Rapporteur.

Arctic Melting Altering Europe's Climate

Researchers have attested that an introduction of unexpected amounts of cold, freshwater generated by melting Arctic ice is modifying the ocean water currents, which are important in sustaining the climate of Europe.

A seawater current called ‘Beaufort Gyre’ plays a key role in keeping the polar environment in balance by creating storage for freshwater near the surface of the arctic ocean, the data is backed by researchers from NASA’s jet propulsion Laboratory, USA. The gyre naturally collects freshwater from melting glaciers and river run-off, while the wind blows the gyre in a clockwise direction around the western arctic ocean. This information was published in the journal Nature Communication.

The researchers also emphasized how critical freshwater is as it floats above the warmer, salty water, and helps protect the sea ice from melting- in turn, regulating the climate in the region. As the freshwater is slowly discharged by the gyre into the Atlantic ocean, over a decade, it allows the Atlantic ocean current to carry it away in small amounts. Since the 1990s, gyre has accumulated a large quantity of fresh water-8000 cubic kilometres or almost twice the volume of Lake Michigan in the US. The cause of this gain in freshwater is the loss of sea ice in summer and autumn.

Arctic Acidification

The researchers including those from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, studied the production of the gas near Hobbaido. The rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to human activities increase the acidity of the ocean, according to researchers.

World's Northernmost Settlements hit by Arctic Heatwave

Temperature hits 21-degree celsius in alert, in a permanently inhabited spot, 965km away from the north pole. The Arctic is heating up 3 times faster than other parts of the world.

Source: UN Report

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