The UN officially recognized this Tuesday () the temperature of 18ºC recorded in Siberia last year as the new high for the Arctic region, which raises a warning about climate change.
The intense heat was registered in 20 June 2020 in the Russian city of Verkhoyansk, which means the highest temperature in history above the Arctic Circle, indicated the WMO (Meteorological Organization World).
This is the first time this organization has included an Arctic heat record in its reports on extreme weather conditions. And it comes at the moment of an unprecedented wave of maximum temperatures around the world, the UN agency said.
“This new record in the Arctic is part of a series of observations recorded in the Archive of Phenomena WMO Extreme Weather and Climate, which raises a warning about climate change,” the agency’s director, Petteri Taalas, said in a statement.
Verkhoyansk stays 115 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle and has recorded temperatures since 1885.
This record, which according to the agency “is more typical of the Mediterranean than Arctic”, was recorded by a meteorological station during an exceptionally prolonged heat wave in Siberia.
The average temperature in the Arctic region of Siberia was 10°C above normal during much of the past (northern hemisphere) summer, which caused fires and significant losses of sea ice.
The wave of heat also influences 2020 to be designated as one of the three hottest years since the beginning of records worldwide.
Last year the maximum temperature of 18, 3°C in Antarctica, said Taalas.
WMO is still checking the record of 54, 4°C shown by thermometers at both 2020 and 2021 in Death Valley, California.
The organization’s experts are also trying to prove the mark of 20, 8ºC in Sicily, which could be the record for Europe.
WMO “never had so many simultaneous investigations,” Taalas reported.
A new category
The archives recorded the highs and lows of temperature, the level of rainfall, magnitude of hailstorms, longer dry spells, gusts of wind, lightning and mortality associated with weather incidents.
The inclusion of a record in the Arctic is a fact of life of the dramatic changes in the region.
Despite the increase in temperature in all regions of the planet, in some areas the process is faster than in others and in the Arctic the rate of change is twice the world average.
“This investigation highlights the increase in temperatures in a region that is very important from a climate point of view for the world,” said Randall Cerveny, an expert at the agency.
The mention of the Arctic implies that the two poles are now mentioned in the report, after which in 115 the WMO added the maximum temperatures recorded in the region of Antarctica.
How this is a new category in the report, experts did not mention the previous record temperature for the region, but reported that there is no previous record of more than 20°C.