On May 19, temperatures in some parts of the Arctic reached a scorching hot 30°C (86.5°F) — that’s positive degrees not minus — which was hotter than virtually all of Europe, with the exception of Spain.
This is not normal.
In a series of Twitter posts, Scottish meteorologist Scott Duncan broke it down for us, using data and graphics to explain the double anomaly — why it’s exceptionally hot in the Arctic and exceptionally cold in Europe right now.
According to Duncan, this past week, some parts of the Arctic are 20-24°C hotter than average for this time of year. Meanwhile, Europe is much cooler than it is normal for May, with just about 20°C less than expected.
The meteorologist says that as the Arctic is warming fast, this will make profound heat waves more likely.
Global warming is not spread equally across the world, with regions warming more than others. The Arctic is warming 3-4 times faster than the rest of the world.
Although the world was shuttered last year due to the pandemic, Arctic warming took no breaks.
A recent report found 2020 was the second-warmest year in the Arctic since record-keeping began in 1900. Parts of Siberia were 5ºC above the long-term average in the first half of the year. The town of Verkhoyansk in Siberia reached 38ºC in June, which is the hottest temperature ever registered north of the Arctic Circle, according to NOAA’s report.
Duncan claims climate change is the driving factor responsible for the temperature anomalies we’re seeing now in Europe and the Arctic.