Throughout the winter and spring of this year, Siberia continually encountered waves of unusually high temperatures. The Guardian writes about the reasons that, according to climatologists, caused this anomaly.
Long periods of heat in Siberia, scientists say, cannot but cause alarm. Despite the fact that the world is now experiencing a temporary decrease in carbon dioxide emissions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Siberian heat may contribute to the fact that the summer of 2020 will break another temperature record.
The main indicator is the temperature in the polar regions. It grows fastest because ocean currents carry heat to the poles, and as a result, snow and ice melt. In May and June, settlements in the Russian Arctic recorded unheard of temperatures. In the village of Nizhny Pesha, in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, on June 9, it was 30 degrees. In Khatanga, a village in Taimyr, where in late spring it is usually around zero, and the previous record was 12 degrees, May 22 was 25 ° C.
According to the Climate Control Service Copernicus (C3S) under the European Union, in May surface temperature in some parts of Siberia was 10 ° C above average. According to experts, in vivo, that is, in the absence of human-induced global warming, Siberia could encounter such temperatures no more than once every 100,000 years.
And this is not an isolated alarm sign. It was not only May that was unusually warm in Siberia; periods of higher than average air temperatures were repeated all winter and spring, according to climatologists monitoring the situation.
“Although the planet as a whole is warming up, it is uneven”, explains Freya Wamborg, a C3S employee. - Western Siberia stands apart as a region that shows a strong tendency to warm with higher temperature fluctuations. So the temperature anomalies themselves are not a surprise. It is unusual how long these anomalies lasted”.
Marina Makarova, chief specialist of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia, said: “This winter was the hottest in Siberia since 130 years ago it began to measure temperature. Average temperatures were up to 6 ° C above seasonal standards”.
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin, commenting on abnormal weather conditions, said: “We have entire cities beyond the Arctic Circle that are built on permafrost. If it begins to melt, can you imagine what consequences might arise here for us? Very serious”.
Permafrost thawing was one of the reasons for the recent diesel spill in Norilsk, when tons of diesel fuel got into the rivers. According to the representatives of the Norilsk Nickel company, the supports suddenly sank under the tanks. According to eco-activists, there were other reasons: old equipment and poorly maintained infrastructure.
Another cause of warming is forest fires, covering hundreds of thousands of hectares of Siberian forests every year. Locals often burn grass in the spring, and when heat and strong winds are superimposed on it, fires get out of control.
Another reason is the swarms of Siberian silkworms, which grow rapidly in the heat, the larvae of which feed on conifers, grow rapidly under conditions of increasing temperature. As Vladimir Soldatov, director of the Forest Protection Center of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, said in an interview with AFP, “In my entire long career I have never seen butterflies so huge and so fast growing.” Soldatov believes that this can have tragic consequences for forests: larvae deprive trees of needles and make them more susceptible to fires.
In the photo: the map shows areas where the temperature in May was lower (highlighted in blue) and higher (red) than usual. Photo: Modis / NEO / Nasa