Blazing temperatures in the Arctic Circle should scare us

Warm weather has disrupted the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk

If you search for "Verkhoyansk" on Google, you'll quickly be able to glean some basic information regarding the semi-unknown town. First of all, you will find out that it is a very small population settlement. In fact, it has only 1,311 inhabitants. Then, we learn that it is part of Russia and that, precisely, it is located in Siberia, below the Arctic Circle, that is a circle of latitude 66° 33′ 45.9 north of the Equator.

The Arctic Circle delimits therefore a very "high" area in the geographical maps and presumably very cold. The deduction is strengthened by a quick scroll through Google Images: we see mostly snowy landscapes, children covered up to the nose and lots and lots of ice. Even on the flag of the former Cossack settlement appears a stylized snowflake.

Unfortunately, it is possible that, along with the snowflake, soon, on the symbol of the Siberian town, will appear sunglasses. And this is not a coincidence, but a dramatic effect of climate change.

Record temperatures in Siberia and below the Arctic Circle: what's going on

The fiery temperature was detected by the Copernicus Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B satellites, on June 20, 2021, when it was still on the threshold of summer. Verkhoyansk is the borderline case, but in fact the Copernicus temperature monitoring program detects that throughout Siberia the climate is getting warmer, due to persistent heat waves and relative temperatures at the Earth's surface well above 35 degrees Celsius. In Verkhoyansk, the record temperature was 48 degrees Celsius.

The Arctic region is warming faster than many others, and the reason is the climate crisis. According to scientists, areas that were once very cold and almost uninhabitable, are galloping in the direction of a completely different environmental balance, triggered precisely by rising temperatures.

What is the surface temperature and why it should not be understood "literally"

In passing, it is worth noting that the surface temperature does not correspond to the temperature experienced by inhabitants who move with their feet on land. In fact, it can happen that there is a gap between the surface temperature and the so-called ground-level air temperature. The latter is the standard method of measurement and the one referred to, for example, by the thermometers on the balconies of our houses and the applications of our smartphones.

However, the record surface temperatures are still a wake-up call and the indicator that in the Arctic latitudes the climate is no longer what it was a few years ago.

About temperatures, this is why humidity aggravates climatic conditions already prohibitive because of the heat. Remaining in the climatic field, there is who has imagined a solution for cooler cities certainly unusual.

Giuseppe Giordano