A prolonged heatwave in Siberia is “undoubtedly alarming”, climate scientists have said. The freak temperatures have been linked to wildfires, a huge oil spill and a plague of tree-eating moths. On a global scale, the Siberian heat is helping push the world towards its hottest year on record in 2020, despite a temporary dip in carbon emissions owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

 Temperatures in the polar regions are rising fastest because ocean currents carry heat towards the poles and reflective ice and snow is melting away. Russian towns in the Arctic circle have recorded extraordinary temperatures, with Nizhnyaya Pesha hitting 30C on 9 June and Khatanga, which usually has daytime temperatures of around 0C at this time of year, hitting 25C on 22 May. The previous record was 12C.

In May, surface temperatures in parts of Siberia were up to 10C above average, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). Martin Stendel, of the Danish Meteorological Institute, said the abnormal May temperatures seen in north-west Siberia would be likely to happen just once in 100,000 years without human-caused global heating.

Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at C3S, said: “It is undoubtedly an alarming sign, but not only May was unusually warm in Siberia. The whole of winter and spring had repeated periods of higher-than-average surface air temperatures.

This seemingly localised occurrence is a warning bell for the rest of the world because this can happen today in any part of the planet as human activities continue to expand. Such erratic extremities of nature have become manifest in frequent catastrophes like the untamable Australian fire months back or the destruction of large swathes of the Amazon rainforests.

With rise in world population and subsequent rise in carbon emissions through heightened use of automobiles and other facilities, global warming has happening with a phenomenal rapidity, which is hitting us hard. The devastating implications may be limited today to wildfires but the fast melting of glaciers is going to cause massive flooding and then prolonged droughts.

This will affect rainfall patterns and crop production will decline. The change in the temperature and water current in the oceans will affect fish production and other marine life that maintain our conducive ecology. Sea water levels are rising and this can inundate and gobble up thousands of kilometers of coastal land, drowning cities and marooning millions of people.  All the mega cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Dhaka, Jakarta, Colombo, Tokyo and New York are in danger of getting under the sea in the next 100 years or so.

Governments need to take urgent action by way of planting more trees and rapidly switching to a solar and wind energy driven regime to minimize the damage to the ozone layer and stem global warming.

We as global citizens must also tweak and calibrate our habits and practices in daily life to adopt more environment-friendly practices and promote good environment around us. Simple actions like using the car less or stopping burning garbage in the open can go a long way in ensuring a secure and healthy future for our generations to come.

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