WMO Confirms 2020 Heat record in Siberian Town


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    • Verkhoyansk, a town in Siberia, recorded a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius recently. 
      • It was then pushed as the highest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic region.


    • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has now confirmed that the highest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic region.
    • Arctic region: All landmasses and seas north of 66.5° latitude are considered the Arctic region. The latitude itself is called the Arctic Circle.
      • It falls in eastern Siberia, which has an extremely harsh dry continental climate (very cold winter and hot summer).
    • Heat wave: At the time the highest temperature was recorded, most of the Arctic region, especially Siberia, was experiencing an unprecedented heatwave, with temperatures in the Siberian Arctic rising up to 10°C above normal.


    • Forest fires: This led to forest fires and massive sea ice loss and was one of the reasons for 2020 becoming one of the three warmest years on record despite a cooling La Nina phenomenon towards the end of the year.
    • Warming at more than twice the rate: The Arctic region is warming at more than twice the rate as the rest of the world, mainly because of human-made greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Arctic amplification: The increased rate of warming is because of a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification, wherein the melting ice hastens the process of warming by exposing areas that are not good at reflecting back heat into the atmosphere.
      • This creates a feedback loop between melting ice and rising temperatures, amplifying the impact of warming.
    • Extreme weather-related incidents: include rainfall, temperatures (highest and lowest), heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, fastest gust of wind, longest lightning flash and deaths due to weather-related disasters.
    • Carbon record emissions: The extreme heat fanned wildfires across northern Russia’ forests and tundra, even igniting normally waterlogged peatlands, and releasing carbon record emissions.

    Other Examples around the globe

    • Esperanza station in Argentina: Temperatures have been rising on the other end of the planet as well. On February 6, 2020, at the Esperanza station in Argentina, considered to be a part of the Antarctic region, a temperature of 18.3°C was recorded.
    • Seymore Island (Brazil): WMO had also rejected another temperature record of 20.75°C reported from Seymore Island (Brazil) on February 9, 2020. The official weather agency of the United Nations has been keeping a record of weather extremes in the Antarctic since 2007.
    • Death Valley in California: A WMO committee is also verifying other potential heat records, including in Death Valley in California in 2020 and on the Italian island of Sicily this year.

    Source: DTE