Again — We Regret To Inform You That the Siberian Arctic Is On Fire

The Arctic is on fire, again. The Siberian Arctic has endured record high temperatures for the second year in a row and is now on fire with the worst wildfires seen in recent memory.  The EU’s Earth Observatory for Human Rights, Copernicus Climate Change Service, recently reported that Russia’s vast northern Siberian arch is currently experiencing record levels of flooding, surpassing record-breaking fire activity seen last year.

The wildfires appear in the boreal forests of the Siberian Arctic in early May each year. However, this year has been freakishly prevalent. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service estimates that 59 megatons of carbon dioxide were pumped into the atmosphere in June 2020, up from 53 megatons of CO2 last June.

According to NASA, the Russian agency for forest fires in the sky said that about 3.4 million acres of land in remote areas of Siberia – Connecticut is about to burn. Coincidentally this region was hit with an unusually hot spring. Between 1981-2010 and June 2020, the average temperature in June increased by 0.03 degrees Celsius compared to June, with the average temperature in the Siberian Arctic reaching 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than in June. A weather station in Verkhoyansk in south June picked up a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 F) on 20 June.

Warm weather, ponds, tundra, and dry vegetation all help create the ideal conditions for large areas of wildfires to be extinguished. Mark Parrington, CAMS Senior Scientist and wildfire expert at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), said in a statement, “High temperatures and dry surface conditions provide ideal conditions for this fire to burn and continue for so long over such a large area.”We have seen very similar patterns in the sequence of fires and soil moisture difficulties across the region in our fire monitoring activities over the past few years.”

It is a fun task to uncover the exact cause of these conditions. Significant changes, however, are inseparable from the wider global trend of climate change. Numerous studies have shown that the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet, mainly due to the loss of sea ice.

As more and more ice melts, less solar radiation (sunlight) is reflected off the Earth and more is absorbed by the deep-sea surface and land. This creates a vicious cycle that causes temperatures to rise, resulting in sea ice erosion and more.

Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) at ECMWF, Carlo Buontempo, explained, “Finding the cause of this record temperature is not a simple effort because there are so many contributing factors interacting with each other. The Siberian and Arctic circles usually experience large fluctuations year after year, and other relatively warm June experiences have been experienced before.” “The worrying thing is that the Arctic is warming faster than other parts of the world. Western Siberia is unusual for temperatures to be lower than temperatures for so long in winter and spring, and the exceptionally high temperatures in the Arctic Siberia in June 2020 are equally alarming. ”