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UN weather agency confirms 2020 Arctic heat record in Siberia

GENEVA – The United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday it had certified a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) in the Russian town of Verkhoyansk last year as the highest ever recorded in North America. Polar, the latest temperature in a series of “alarm bells about our changing climate.”

The World Meteorological Organization said temperatures “more suitable for the Mediterranean than the Arctic” were recorded on June 20, 2020, during a heatwave that swept across Siberia and extended north of the Northern Circle. Pole.

Average temperatures are up to 10 degrees Celsius above normal in the Siberian Arctic, playing a key role in wildfires, sea ice loss and rising global temperatures making 2020 one of the three hottest years on record. .

WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said: “This new Arctic record is one of a series of observations reported to the WMO Extreme Weather and Climate Archive that aims to sound the alarm about the our climate change,” WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

Verkhoyansk is about 115 kilometers (70 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, and a weather station there has been observing temperatures since 1885, the WMO said.

Spokesperson Clare Nullis said the record reading was the first of its kind in a new category of Arctic temperature monitoring, so there was no prior material to compare it with. But 38 degrees has never been seen before in the Arctic, she said.

The WMO is looking at a number of possible heat records, including 54.4 degrees Celsius (129.9 degrees Fahrenheit) recorded both this year and last year in Death Valley, California, which could be the highest temperature ever recorded. worldwide and 48.8 degrees Celsius (119.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in southern Italy’s Sicily this summer – in what could be the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe.

Taalas said the WMO has never had multiple investigations into possible heat records, and they need time to verify.

The agency says the Arctic is one of the fastest warming regions in the world and is warming at twice the rate of the global average.

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