More recently, we wrote about the Siberian cityVerkhoyansk, the temperature in which set a record of all times for the Arctic and caused serious alarm for meteorologists around the world. The confirmation of the Russian Hydrometeorological Center that on June 20 the temperature in Verkhoyansk reached + 37ºC came on the same day that the results of a comprehensive study were published, according to which the current temperature on Earth is the warmest for at least 12,000 years. Even more disturbing is the fact that ten days after this record was set, the heat still does not subside.
Heat in Siberia and the Arctic
Record heat in some parts of Siberia in Maywas so noticeable that it reached five standard deviations from the norm. In other words, if you could hypothetically live in this area for 100,000 years, then statistically speaking, you would have to experience such an extreme period of temperature rise only once - today. According to CBS News, despite the fact that researchers are concerned about the recent heat, the most worrying is its persistence: since December 2019, the temperature in Western Siberia has been on average almost 12ºC higher than average (1981-2010), which is to say the least unusual. But what is the reason for such a long and atypical heat?
Researchers believe that human-inducedclimate change plays a significant role in increasing the intensity of thermal waves on the planet. Simply put, as average temperatures rise, extremely hot days become even hotter and more noticeable. In the Arctic, this effect is amplified due to the loss of ice and snow, which usually reflect sunlight back into space. Reducing the amount of ice means that darker soil will absorb more light, causing a sharp warming. The longer the warming lasts, the more it nourishes itself, amplifying the heat wave.
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The Arctic has been heating for decadesmuch faster than the rest of the globe, as experts regularly talked about and wrote in the press. But just a few days ago, Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Space Research Institute, corrected this by providing evidence that the warming rate of the Arctic is actually three times higher.
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Planet on fire
The recent heat is not limited to Siberia and the Arctic. So, for 2020, three cities of South Florida in the United States, including Miami, beat a record temperature in 121 years. In central Canada, coastal temperaturesHudson's Bay peaked in the 90s, and in Norway, because of the unusual heat that lasted until the 80s, people ski and snowboard in bathing suits. Unfortunately, none of this comes as a surprise to climatologists, who have been sounding the alarm over the effects of global warming for decades.
During the study, a team of scientists workingPAGES (Past Global Changes) project analyzed data covering thousands of years of our planet. The group took on the extremely grueling process of restoring a 12,000-year temperature record that ended in 1950. Before the advent of modern thermometers, researchers relied on various temperature estimates based on what scientists call indirect records - “keys”, such as fossils buried in sediments, such as shells and pollen, which show what the ancient climate was like the past.
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The results showed that the warmest 200-year-oldThe period until 1950 was observed about 6,500 years ago, when the global surface temperature was about 16ºC higher, which is the average for the 19th century. Starting at this high mark of 6500 years ago, the globe has been constantly cooling. But things have changed dramatically over the past 150 years,when people turned back thousands of years of cooling, which is why global temperatures rose. Thus, the researchers concluded that the Earth is currently warmer than 6500 years ago. Moreover, we can even conclude that today the temperature on the planet is warmer than it was before the beginning of the ice age, about 120,000 years ago.
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However, the lead author of the study, Dr. DarrellKaufman, a paleoclimatic data scientist at the University of Northern Arizona, believes the data are not accurate enough to state this for sure. One way or another, a new study provides even more evidence of how quickly humanity is changing the Earth’s climate. With each new study, we understand that current warming can be unprecedented, at least since the last interglacial period, more than a hundred thousand years ago.