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“Red mass” in the Region: The UN Verifies a Record of Heat in the Arctic

What Happened?

The United Nations (UN) indicated on Tuesday that it was verifying information according to which a record 38ºC was registered in the Arctic during the weekend.

The 38ºC record was provisionally accepted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), but the verification process (measurement conditions, material accuracy, etc.) will take time, according to a United Nations WMO spokeswoman, Clare Nullis.

This possible record was identified on Saturday in the Russian city of Verkhoiansk, in Siberia, which is experiencing a heat wave that has also caused a flare-up of the fires, according to WMO.

This region of eastern Siberia is known for its extreme temperatures, both winter and summer, Nullis explained during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

What was Said?

“Temperatures above 30ºC in July here are not unusual, but it is evident that 38ºC is exceptional,” he declared, calling it “worrying” and “a red mass” shown by satellite images of the region.

According to the Russian meteorological services (Rosguidromet), temperatures above 31ºC were recorded at the Verkhoiansk station since June 18, with a peak of 38ºC on June 20.

“It is the highest temperature at this station since the start of measurements” in the late 19th century, Marina Makarova of Rosguidromet said Tuesday.

According to the WMO spokesperson, the increase in temperatures observed in the Arctic is a sign of continued global warming. “Climate change doesn’t stop because of the (covid) pandemic,” he said.

The Arctic is one of the world’s fastest-heating regions, twice as fast as the world average.

Home to much of the Earth’s permafrost (frozen soil layer), Siberia recently went through a period of exceptional heat.

In the last decade, several heat waves have been observed in some parts of the Arctic and at different times of the year.


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