Verkhoyansk, a town in Siberia north of the Arctic Circle, has an average high temperature for June of 66º F and an average low of 44º F. On June 20, this city hit a record high temperature over 100 degrees. The scorching temperature has also led to an outbreak of wildfires. This part of the world receives sunlight 24 hours a day this time of year. Until cool air blows from the north, the heat wave will continue.
This year, the ice broke up in the Siberian rivers earlier than usual. Climate scientist Martin Stendel has said that if it were not for climate change, the dramatic swings in temperature in northwest Siberia last month would happen only once in 100,000 years.
Due to a process known as Artic amplification, the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. As Arctic ice melt accelerates, the seasonal (fall-to-spring) snow cover is no longer as white. The brilliant whiteness on this part of the Earth is replaced with dark ocean water and land, which absorbs more sunlight rather than reflecting it, which in turn leads to more warming, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That’s significant for the rest of the world, too. Melting ice in the Arctic leads to higher sea levels, and not just in the Arctic Ocean. With fewer sections of ice to reflect sunlight, the world’s oceans are warming, leading to stronger hurricanes and typhoons.
The climate catastrophe clock is ticking. The oil companies and other big capitalist businesses have shown little or no interest in slowing it down. And it’s likewise with the politicians they finance. The rest of us need to – and can – organize to save the world.
featured image credit: NBC News