the arctic circle is experiencing one of the worst heat waves in living memory

When one thinks of Siberia or the Arctic in general, one imagines snow and bone-chilling cold. It is not entirely true, in Siberia it can be very hot, up to 48 ° C as recently posted. Although it has only occurred in one point of the gigantic area, the rest are not many degrees below. One of the worst heat waves in the place. With the consequences this can have for permafrost.

We have obtained the records thanks to satellite images of the twin satellites Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B. Both from the European Union, are capable of record thermal changes in the land and sea surface. They have long been mapping and recording the temperature in the area and often publish heat maps to understand the evolution of temperatures.

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The 48 ° C has been measured in Verkhojansk, a point in eastern Siberia above the Arctic Circle. In other parts of the region, temperatures have been lower but equally unusually high for the place. For example 43 ° C in Govorovo or 37 ° C in Saskylah.

Something important to keep in mind is that are recorded temperatures of the surface and not the air. This is relevant since although the surface can reach similar temperatures, the air is somewhat colder as it does not have such a strong impact from the sun’s rays. In Verkhojansk for example, while the ground registered 48 ° C, in the air it was about 30 ° C.

The danger of permafrost melting

Whether or not it affects the air, these high temperatures have a direct impact on global warming. Such figures can cause permafrost to thaw. This can lead to landslides in the first place (and gigantic holes) of earth and collapse of the foundations of the buildings if there are any in the area.

Melting of permafrost can also lead to the release of greenhouse gases, something much more serious than landslides. Permafrost contains gases trapped inside that, when escaping into the atmosphere, contribute directly to trapping the Sun’s rays and consequently increase the planet’s temperatures even more.

Just a year ago we were in a similar situation. Siberia suffered one of its great heat waves with record temperatures. The result was also a historic thaw that lasted until September it is included October.

Via | Gizmodo
More information | Copernicus


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