The heat waves that have recently occurred in the typically frozen lands of Siberia are becoming a massive concern for climate scientists, along with wildfires that are spreading close to the Arctic Sea.
Since 2019, the Northern Eurasian region has been experiencing heat waves above 100°F (37.77°C). That is roughly 10°C above the usual temperatures for Siberia at this time of year. Even in the cooler months, from December to May, there has been an observable rise, according to data collected by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, who released some damning data on the region back in May.
However, perhaps the most shocking images are those of wildfires in Siberia, which has been thawing the tundra’s permafrost – soil which is typically frozen solid at this time of year.
Even though fires running wild through cold, wet and icy landscapes may seem alarming, it’s not unheard of. However, for them to reach as far north as they have been, just a few kilometres off of the Laptev Sea – a part of the Arctic Ocean – is cause for concern. Heat waves within the arctic circle are evidence that the temperatures in the arctic are rising at a far higher rate in comparison to the rest of the world.
“I was a little shocked to see a fire burning 10 kilometers south of a bay of the Laptev Sea, which is like, the sea ice factory of the world,” Jessica McCarty, a fire researcher at Miami University in Ohio, told National Geographic. “When I went into fire science as an undergraduate student, if someone had told me I’d be studying fire regimes in Greenland and the Arctic, I would have laughed at them.”
The fires alone, however, aren’t necessarily cause for alarm.
“This is not yet a massive contribution to climate change,” says Thomas Smith, an environmental geographer at the London School of Economics who has been tracking the Siberian fires closely. “But it’s certainly a sign that something different is happening.”
The real cause for concern is the result of burning the permafrost, which contains carbons that have been untouched for centuries. The burning of those carbons can release methane and other greenhouse gasses that could accelerate global warming. It is a double-whammy of sorts – climate change accelerating climate change.
However, these changes have largely gone unreported by major media outlets. Due to the remoteness of the region, it is unlikely that many will be aware of what’s going on and reversing or at the very least mitigating the effects will be all but impossible. This is more evidence that the apocalypse is upon us.