Siberia’s unusually warm prolonged climate is an ‘alarming sign’: scientist says

Surface temperatures in Siberia were up to 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average last month, making it the hottest vast month of May in the Russian region since records began in 1979, according to research by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), a program affiliated with the European Commission. Siberia’s warmest weather came when the world experienced the hottest May on record, the C3S findings show.
According to climate scientist Martin Stendel, the temperature drift in northwestern Siberia last month would occur only once in 100,000 years were it not for climate change.

But in Siberia, it wasn’t just May that was warmer than usual: The region experienced periods of above-average surface air temperatures throughout winter and spring, with warmer temperatures especially from January, C3S found.

“It is certainly an alarming signal,” said Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at C3S.

Siberia tends to see large variations in temperature month-to-month and year-over-year, and there have been months in previous years when the temperature anomalies were larger than the region has experienced in the past six months, C3S said. But, according to C3S, it is unusual to see warmer than average temperatures for so many months in a row.

Last month was the hottest May on record as the world approaches a dangerous threshold

Although the Earth as a whole is warming up, temperature increases do not occur uniformly across the planet, Vamborg said.

She said western Siberia stands out as a region showing a warmer trend with greater temperature variations.

Scientists say the Arctic region is warming, on average, twice as fast as the rest of the planet as a result of global warming.
Russia recorded its hottest winter in the 140-year history of meteorological observations, the Russian State Hydrometeorological Center reported earlier this year.

Effects of warmer temperatures

Warmer temperatures already seem to have negative impacts.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a state of emergency in the Siberian city of Norilsk after 20,000 tons of fuel were spilled into a nearby river from a power station.
Russia has just had its warmest winter temperatures, leaving Moscow without snow

Nornickel, the parent company of the power company, said the base of the storage tank possibly sank due to the thawing of permafrost, highlighting the dangers that increasingly warmer temperatures pose to Arctic infrastructure and ecosystems, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

“At this point we can assume … that due to abnormally mild summer temperatures recorded in recent years, the permafrost may have melted and the pillars below the platform may have sunk,” said Sergey Dyachenko, chief operations officer at Nornickel. , according to TASS.

Sergey Verkhovets, arctic project coordinator for WWF’s Russian branch, said the incident had catastrophic consequences.

“We will see the repercussions in the coming years,” said Verkhovets. “We are talking about dead fish, contaminated plumage from birds and poisoned animals.”

Last year, forest fires ravaged the Arctic to unprecedented levels, throwing megatons of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, according to Russian official estimates.

CNN’s Mary Ilyushina and Frederik Pleitgen contributed to this story.