If we talk about one heat wave in siberiaYou probably think we've got the wrong place. Because this wide area of Russia It is characterized by being one of the coldest on our planet. In fact, its population density is barely three inhabitants per square kilometer due to the harshness of its climate.
However, the climate change is causing really incredible situations until a few years ago. It is also what has happened in Greenland last May. We are going to talk to you about all this, but first we must put you in context.
In most of this great region of Russia the climate is subarctic, with very short and rainy summers and long and very cold winters. It is easy for the latter to reach temperatures of -50 degrees. But there have been even lower records. For example, in the city of Verkhoyansk they were subjected to -68.
Another very important feature of the area and, as we shall see, closely linked to the problem of its warming is the existence of permafrost. This name is given to the layer of soil that is always frozen in these cold regions. In turn, it is divided into two parts: the superficial or mollisol and the deep or pergelisol.
The latter is the one that remains frozen, while the former removes snow and ice with heat. Permafrost occurs in areas close to the polar ones. For example, in parts of Canada, Greenland, Norway and, precisely, Siberia. As we will see later, the heat is causing all this layer of soil to melt with serious consequences. But now we are going to talk to you about the situation in Greenland and in Siberia itself.
The heat in Greenland
At the end of May, this large island located between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans suffered a spectacular heat wave with temperatures up to 15 degrees above normal at this time in the area. According to the organization Arctic Risk, which is in charge of measuring them to ensure the conservation of this region of the planet, "beyond the Arctic Circle temperatures have been recorded above 24 degrees Celsius.
They have also stated that such an early heat wave is a symptom of the climate change we are suffering. His warnings coincide with those made by other institutions. Just a few days ago, several scientists published a paper in the journal Nature Communications. in which they warned that, if everything continues as before, “the Arctic would run out of ice in the summer of 2030”.
The warming of this area of our planet would have serious consequences for everyone. According to these same scholars, the Arctic with higher temperatures would cause even more intense climate change than the one we suffered. Specifically, it would show up in major heat waves, high- and mid-latitude flooding, and wildfires.
Also, the thaw would bring about a increase in height in the seas and their overheating. This is because the ice absorbs a good part of the sun's rays, allowing the waters to stay colder. But, when that one disappeared, they would all end up in the sea, raising its temperature. And the most serious thing is that everything we explained to you is already happening, as we see from the heat wave in Siberia.
The heat wave in Siberia
After the high temperatures registered in Greenland, since the beginning of June it has been the turn of the Siberian region, which is breaking maximum records daily. To give you an idea, there have been times when it has exceeded forty degrees Celsius.
But, to show you some examples, we will tell you that the city of Novosibirsk registered 37,3 degrees and that of Toguchin 37,2. Worse still has been the case Ordynskoe with 38,1 and Barnaul with 38,5. However, they have taken the palm Baevo with 39,6 and Kljuci, with 40,1 degrees Celsius.
In the teacher's words Jonathan Ovepeck from the University of Michigan this great warming of the Siberian region is a "major warning" about what can happen to us. In fact, according to him, it means that the rise in temperatures in the world is taking place faster than we believed.
In the same vein, it has been stated Thomas smith, an environmental geographer at the London School of Economics, saying that what happened in Siberia is a sign that something different from what we thought is happening. But, in turn, the warming of the Siberian climate is having another detrimental effect related, just as we said, to permafrost.
The great forest fires
El permafrost it is losing its perennial ice cap due to those high temperatures. This is by itself a environmental disaster because viruses and bacteria that have remained frozen for thousands of years are preserved in it. As if this were not enough, the permafrost harbors large amounts of methane gas which, with the melting, also end up in the atmosphere.
You may not know it, but this gas has the potential to create a greenhouse effect much stronger than CO2, although it lasts less time in the atmosphere. In any case, it is very dangerous for the environment both because of its abundance and because of its harmful capacity.
But the problems caused by the heat wave in Siberia and in the areas close to the Arctic Circle do not end there. Another serious consequence is the huge forest fires that are taking place in that region of the globe. Although it may sound paradoxical due to its traditional low temperatures, Siberia has areas of abundant vegetation. For example, the taiga forested areas. This, also known as boreal forest, is made up of large extensions of conifers. Also, elsewhere, there is plenty of the tundra, which, in turn, consists of mosses and lichens on bog and peat (peat wetland) soils. All this constitutes an enormous ecological wealth that the fires are destroying.
In conclusion, the heat wave in siberia It is reaching a magnitude never seen before. In turn, this causes the loss of ice from the permafrost and also the outbreak of large fires that threaten to destroy this huge region of our planet that has a capital importance from an ecological point of view.