Thursday, January 20, 2022

Record heat roasts the Arctic and many usually moderate places

Crushing heatwaves and 'snowpocalypses' in unexpected places are breaking weather records around the world.

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Meteorologists across the Nordic countries registered near-record temperatures over the weekend, including highs of 34 degrees Celsius in some places, news agencies reported on  Monday.

The latest figures came after Finland’s national meteorological institute registered its hottest temperature for June since records began in 1844, when Kevo, in the far north, recorded heat of 33.5 on Sunday, said the STT agency.

Several parts of Sweden also reported record highs for last month, climate campaigner Greta Thunberg tweeted.

“June 2021 was the hottest June ever recorded in my hometown Stockholm by a large margin. The second hottest June was in 2020. The third in 2019.”

She wondered aloud: “Am I sensing a pattern here? Nah, probably just another coincidence.”

Nationally, June 2021 was the third-hottest ever recorded in Sweden.

And Norway’s meteorological institute registered 34 in Saltdal, a county near the Arctic Circle. That is the highest temperature measured in the country this year, and just 1.6 degrees short of Norway’s all-time record.

Several other parts of the world have already experienced crushing heatwaves this year.

Last week, the United Nations confirmed a new record high temperature for the frozen Antarctic continent – measured last year – of 18.3 deg Celsius.

Canada is battling a string of forest fires in the western province of British Columbia after sweltering under temperatures just short of 50 degrees, a new national record.

A day later, residents of the town of Lytton were evacuated just before the town burst into flames which devastated the town.

The unprecedented heatwave in the typically mild region, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the US Pacific states of Oregon and neighbouring Washington state, is the latest in a growing list of extreme weather events that have struck globally.

Australia, California and Siberia have all recently experienced deadly wildfires caused by extreme heat.

In Death Valley, California, the temperature reached a terrifying 53.2 deg Celsius last month, a record high for June.

The increased frequency of such weather events raises serious questions, including whether humanity is prepared for the consequences of global warming.

The US has suffered a savage combination of heatwaves, droughts and wildfires in recent years, putting immense strain on its infrastructure and drawing promises of action from President Joe Biden.

“There is an emerging consensus that this is some kind of new normal,” said Dr Jennifer Vines, lead health officer for Oregon state.

As well as this week’s heatwave, she pointed to February’s “snowpocalypse” when the complete opposite extreme caused unprecedented havoc.

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