Alarming Artic Heatwave Continues

Climate is not defined by the temperatures of one day. Yet the overwhelming Arctic warmth is far more profound than we believed and has been persistent for months. This is crazy and unusual, scientists say they would expect to some extent, large temperatures anomalies, “what is unusual is how long the warmer-than-average anomalies have persisted for” (Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at C3S)

The present situation in the Siberia is an extreme example of what is happening in all polar regions, and it is pushing the world towards what could be the hottest year on record in 2020.

And some still think the COVID-19 pandemic would have been enough to help us with our climate emergency.

In June, Russian towns, some even above the arctic circle – where one would immediately imagine it to be freezing – have recorded extraordinary temperatures.

Nizhnyaya Pesha hit 30°C on 9 June. Verkhoyansk reached 38°C! (Few times have I been in places with this temperature). On the 30th of June, at a latitude of 73°N (way above the arctic circle) temperature hit 34°C (refer to image). Even in May, some areas in the Siberia hit 25°C.

All in all temperatures in the Siberia are about +20-25 °C warmer than normal.

Well this data clearly shows us our temporary decline in carbon emissions due to coronavirus was far from enough. Temperatures keep rising, permafrost and ice keep melting…

Lastly, we would like to highlight that while temperatures in global polar regions are rising fastest as ocean currents carry heat towards the poles and reflective ice and snow is melting away, the alarming situation in the Siberia is partly to blame for:

  • wildfires that got out of control across thousands of hectares of Siberia’s forest
  • an oil spill in June (the foundations of a storage stank became unstable and suddenly sunk, due to permafrost melting on account of the heat. The infrastructure was also old and poorly maintained)


The exploitation of gas and mineral resources in the Arctic in general – not only in Siberia, the opening of trade routes, and militarization of this area in the last years have been increasing. If you want to learn more about the devastating consequences on the Arctic and the competition among countries and multinationals to control this area we recommend the photojournalism project called “Arctic: New Frontier” by Kadir Van Lohuizen and Yuri Kozyrev for Fondation CARMIGNAC. In 2018, they traveled from Russia to Norway, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska, each photojournalist exploring and exposing the issues affecting the artic, and the consequences of the melting of the sea ice of the planet.