by P. Homewood, June 27, 2020 in NotaLotofPeoppleKnowThat
The Conversation has now got involved in the Arctic heatwave scare, with this article by Jonathan Bamber, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Bristol :
On the eve of the summer solstice, something very worrying happened in the Arctic Circle. For the first time in recorded history, temperatures reached 38°C (101°F) in a remote Siberian town – 18°C warmer than the maximum daily average for June in this part of the world, and the all-time temperature record for the region.
New records are being set every year, and not just for maximum temperatures, but for melting ice and wildfires too. That’s because air temperatures across the Arctic have been increasing at a rate that is about twice the global average.
All that heat has consequences. Siberia’s recent heatwave, and high summer temperatures in previous years, have been accelerating the melting of Arctic permafrost. This is the permanently frozen ground which has a thin surface layer that melts and refreezes each year. As temperatures rise, the surface layer gets deeper and structures embedded in it start to fail as the ground beneath them expands and contracts. This is what is partly to blame for the catastrophic oil spill that occurred in Siberia in June 2020, when a fuel reservoir collapsed and released more than 21,000 tonnes of fuel – the largest ever spill in the Arctic.
So what is wrong with the Arctic, and why does climate change here seem so much more severe compared to the rest of the world?