The stifling heat of 38°C was measured on the 20th of June 2020 in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk. And according to the World Meteorolgical Organization (WMO), this marks the highest temperature that has even been recorded above the Arctic Circle.
This is the first time that the WMO adds record heat in the Arctic to its archive of extreme weather reports. And this unbelievable incident happened during an “unprecedented wave of record temperature spikes globally“, as per the United Nations (UN).
“This new Arctic record is one of a series of observations reported to the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes that sound the alarm bells about our changing climate,” The UN’s chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
Arctic Siberia was already experiencing “above normal” heat during summer
The town of Verkhoyansk is located about 115 km north of the Arctic Circle, and temperatures have been measured there since 1885.
The WMO described the record breaking temperature as “more befitting the Mediterranean than the Arctic“. And the the measurement was made at a meteorological station during an “exceptionally prolonged Siberian heatwave“.
The average temperatures in Arctic Siberia during summer was already seen as “above normal” when it reached 10°C. And according to the WMO, this has even fuelled fires and caused massive sea-ice loss.
The year 2020 has been designated as one of the three warmest years on record globally, and the Actic Siberian heatwave played a significant role in this.
And in 1991, the lowest temperature in the Arctic Circle was recorded in Greenland at -69.6°C.