Climate Change

The Arctic just recorded its hottest day ever. Here's what that means

A ship sails along the Yenisei River during sunset, about 290 km (180 miles) north of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, June 13, 2013. Yenisei, one of the largest river systems in the world which rises in Mongolia and flows into the Arctic ocean, is the life artery for the residents populating its banks. Picture taken June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin (RUSSIA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT MARITIME TRANSPORT TRAVEL) - GM1E977164O01

It's supposed to be one of the coldest places on earth, but Verkhoyansk has reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Image: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Isaac Scher
Reporter, Business Insider
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Climate Change

  • The Siberian town of Verkhoyansk hit 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, following months of record-breaking heat in the Arctic Circle.
  • Last winter was the hottest in Siberia since temperatures were first recorded 130 years ago.
  • The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there’s a 75% chance that 2020 could be the hottest year on record.
  • If not for climate change, Siberia’s record-breaking temperatures would be “a one in 100,000 year event,” one scientist said.

The Arctic Circle hit temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday. If verified, it would be the region’s hottest day on record.

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The Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 32 degrees higher than normal temperatures,CBS News reported. The same day, extensive fires blazed east of Verkhoyansk, satellite images show. On the East Siberian Sea, north of the town, those images showed open water instead of ice.

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The Siberian town, about 3,000 miles east of Moscow, Russia, is historically one of the coldest places on Earth. Last November, temperatures dropped to almost -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Siberian temperatures have broken records in the past several months, however, and last winter was “the hottest in Siberia since records began 130 years ago,” Marina Makarova, chief meteorologist at Russia’s Rosgidromet weather service, told The Guardian.

In late May, Khatanga recorded 78 degrees Fahrenheit, CBS News reported. Two weeks later, Nizhnyaya Pesha reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The month of May was 50 degrees higher than average in western Siberia.

If not for man-made climate change, Siberia’s record-shattering heat would be “a 1 in 100,000 year event,” Martin Stendel, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said on social media.

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Searing, record-breaking heat is also occurring in the United States.

Caribou, Maine, hit a record 96 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday and stayed in the 90s through Saturday. Nearly 2,000 miles away in Miami, temperatures have only reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit once since 1896, when the city began recording temperatures, according to CBS News.

Meterologists said earlier this year that 2020 is on pace to be one of the hottest years ever. “It is virtually certain that 2020 will be a top 10 year,” the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in April, and there’s a 75% chance it could be the hottest on record.

Climate change will be felt most severely in the Global South, especially among the poor and working class. But the United States “is projected to receive the second most devastating economic effects of climate change,” wrote political theorist Ajay Singh Chaudhary, executive director of the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Climate change will deepen global inequality and conflict, he warned.

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