International

38 degrees plus in one of the coldest places in the world

An unusual heat wave has caused a temperature record in Siberia. In the city of Verkhoyansk in Yakutia, which is considered one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, on 20. June 38 degrees were measured, a record for the measuring station, reported the World Weather Organization (WMO) in Geneva. In the months of January to June the temperatures would have been five degrees Celsius above the average of the years 1981 to 2010, in June alone it was ten degrees above average.

Even if the weather in the region would be influenced, among other things, by a northward shift of the jet stream – a strong wind band in the troposphere -, such a heat wave would have been practically impossible without climate change, according to an analysis by WMO experts.

“The Arctic warms up twice as fast as the whole world on average,” said WMO General Secretary Petteri Taalas. The development has far-reaching consequences. “The Poles influence weather and climate in lower latitudes, where hundreds of millions of people live.”

For the second year in a row, devastating fires raged due to the heat within the Arctic Circle. The northernmost currently active fire is less than eight kilometers from the Arctic Ocean, according to the WMO. On Russian satellite images are on 22. July 188 probable sources of fire have been seen.

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“The summer 2019 was overall unusual in terms of high latitude fires, and 2020 seems similar too develop, ”the WMO quoted scientist Mark Parrington from the European Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). The Siberian heat wave has accelerated the ice decline on the Arctic coasts, especially since the end of June, the WMO reported.

As a result of the melting ice in the Arctic, the survival of polar bears is up to 2100 according to calculations by researchers. Without enough ice surfaces on which they can catch seals, the polar bears would be pushed ashore, where they would have disadvantages in foraging, writes a team of researchers led by Péter Molnár from the University of Toronto in the journal “Nature Climate Change”.

The decisive factor for the continued existence of the bears is the number of days per year on which the ice returns, it is said. On land, the animals would not find the right feed to meet their energy needs. The team therefore estimated how long polar bears can live without food until the survival of young animals and adult polar bears is at risk.

Ein Eisbär steht im Nordpolarmeer auf eine Eisscholle.

A polar bear stands on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Ulf Mauder / dpa

The researchers used existing climate change scenarios up to 2100 to be able to make a statement about the situation of the ice surfaces at the North Pole. In addition, they calculated how long polar bears could do without food based on the energy requirements of nursing polar mothers or male animals.

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The result indicated that the life of the young animals is most at risk. Solitary females have the best chance of survival in the course of melting ice surfaces, as they can store energy better than males, for example.

According to the study, the future greenhouse gas emissions of humans have a major impact: In the hottest climate scenario to be assumed, the researchers gave the polar bears little chance of survival until 2100 – with the exception of those in the regions of the High Arctic. If the greenhouse gas concentration is moderate by then, this could prolong the survival of the animals. But it is unlikely that the extinction of some of the 13 in the study The research team goes on to say that populations can be prevented this century. (dpa)

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