Siberia dries out as forests burn and climate heats

(Climate News Network, 5 Jun 2020) A huge swathe of Arctic Russia is changing rapidly as oil leaks, the climate warms and Siberia dries out.

Residents of the small Arctic town of Khatanga have never experienced anything like it: their home is changing at a gallop as Siberia dries out.

Khatanga – population around 3,500 – is well north of the Arctic Circle, with usual daytime temperatures at this time of year hovering round a chilly 0°C. On 22 May the temperature in the town reached 25°C – more than double the record to date.

Global warming is causing profound change across the Arctic, a region which acts like a giant air conditioning system regulating the Earth’s climate.

Temperatures are rising far faster than elsewhere: sea ice cover is rapidly disappearing, valuable fish stocks are moving ever further north in search of colder waters, land around the Arctic perimeter is drying out – particularly across the vast expanse of Siberia.

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Climate News Network, 5 Jun 2020: Siberia dries out as forests burn and climate heats