A town in Siberia recorded a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius, or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday.
If verified, it will break the record both for the town itself and for everywhere north of the Arctic Circle, The Weather Channel reported. It also comes as Siberia has experienced an exceptionally warm 2020 so far.
"What's happening in Siberia this year is nothing short of remarkable. The kind of weather we expect by 2100, 80 years early," CBS meteorologist Jeff Berardelli tweeted.
Likely the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic happened today-100.4 F- What's happening in Siberia this… https://t.co/IHGUz8pIJj— Jeff Berardelli (@Jeff Berardelli)1592679165.0
The town of Verkhoyansk, where the high temperature was recorded, is usually one of the coldest places on Earth, Berardelli wrote for CBS.
Its average high temperature for late June is in the high 60s, according to The Weather Channel, and its previous record high temperature was 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit, set in 1988. In November 2019, its temperature plunged to almost 60 degrees below zero, Vox reported. On Sunday, children were photographed seeking relief in a lake that is frozen in winter, according to The Weather Channel.
Verkhoyansk's record cold temperature was set at negative 67.8 degrees Celsius, or negative 90 degrees Fahrenheit, in 1892. If Saturday's reading holds, that will put a 105.8 degrees Celsius difference between the town's temperature extremes.
"That's a difference in extremes larger than the difference between water's freezing and boiling points, likely the largest spread between all-time record high and low temperatures anywhere on Earth," Jonathan Erdman wrote for The Weather Channel.
There are some doubts about the accuracy of Saturday's reading, according a Washington Post article reported by Vox. But a weather balloon recorded unusually high temperatures in the lower atmosphere Saturday, and the town hit 95.3 degrees on Sunday.
Even if the reading doesn't hold, Siberia is still in the grips of an extremely warm 2020.
Temperatures in May were 10 degrees Celsius higher than usual, making it the region's warmest May on record, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Unusual events in Siberia have been in the news. In fact, our May temperature summary showed higher than average te… https://t.co/7Ai1nrL5rp— Copernicus ECMWF (@Copernicus ECMWF)1591962738.0
And Russia broke its record for January to May 2020 by more than 1.9 degrees Celsius, according to Berkeley Earth lead scientist Robert Rohde.
"It is undoubtedly an alarming sign, but not only May was unusually warm in this region," senior Copernicus Climate Change Service scientist Freja Vamborg said in a statement reported by Vox. "The whole of winter and spring had repeated periods of higher-than-average surface air temperatures."
All of this heat has had real consequences, Rohde pointed out.
Siberia's current heat wave has both a short- and long-term cause, Beradelli explained.
In the short term, the heat wave is the result of a high pressure dome, but ultimately the climate crisis is driving Arctic extremes.
"Due to heat trapping greenhouse gases that result from the burning of fossil fuels and feedback loops, the Arctic is warming at more than two times the average rate of the globe," he wrote.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that the average temperature in Verkhoyansk for late June was in the mid 60s, but its average high for this period is in the high 60s.
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Mapping Social Vulnerability<p>Figure 1a is a typical map of social vulnerability across the United States at the census tract level based on the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) algorithm of <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1540-6237.8402002" target="_blank"><em>Cutter et al.</em></a> . Spatial representation of the index depicts high social vulnerability regionally in the Southwest, upper Great Plains, eastern Oklahoma, southern Texas, and southern Appalachia, among other places. With such a map, users can focus attention on select places and identify population characteristics associated with elevated vulnerabilities.</p>
Social Vulnerability as a Measure of Equity<p>Given their focus on social marginalization and economic barriers, social vulnerability indicators are attracting growing scientific interest as measures of inequity resulting from disasters. Indeed, social vulnerability and inequity are related concepts. Social vulnerability research explores the differential susceptibilities and capacities of disaster-affected populations, whereas social equity analyses tend to focus on population disparities in the allocation of resources for hazard mitigation and disaster recovery. Interventions with an equity focus emphasize full and equal resource access for all people with unmet disaster needs.</p><p>Yet newer studies of inequity in disaster programs have documented troubling disparities in income, race, and home ownership among those who <a href="https://eos.org/articles/equity-concerns-raised-in-federal-flood-property-buyouts" target="_blank">participate in flood buyout programs</a>, are <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063477407" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eligible for postdisaster loans</a>, receive short-term recovery assistance [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.102010" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Drakes et al.</em></a>, 2021], and have <a href="https://www.texastribune.org/2020/08/25/texas-natural-disasters--mental-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">access to mental health services</a>. For example, a recent analysis of federal flood buyouts found racial privilege to be infused at multiple program stages and geographic scales, resulting in resources that disproportionately benefit whiter and more urban counties and neighborhoods [<a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023120905439" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Elliott et al.</em></a>, 2020].</p><p>Investments in disaster risk reduction are largely prioritized on the basis of hazard modeling, historical impacts, and economic risk. Social equity, meanwhile, has been far less integrated into the considerations of public agencies for hazard and disaster management. But this situation may be beginning to shift. Following the adage of "what gets measured gets managed," social equity metrics are increasingly being inserted into disaster management.</p><p>At the national level, FEMA has <a href="https://www.fema.gov/news-release/20200220/fema-releases-affordability-framework-national-flood-insurance-program" target="_blank">developed options</a> to increase the affordability of flood insurance [Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2018]. At the subnational scale, Puerto Rico has integrated social vulnerability into its CDBG Mitigation Action Plan, expanding its considerations of risk beyond only economic factors. At the local level, Harris County, Texas, has begun using social vulnerability indicators alongside traditional measures of flood risk to introduce equity into the prioritization of flood mitigation projects [<a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/Portals/62/Resilience/Bond-Program/Prioritization-Framework/final_prioritization-framework-report_20190827.pdf?ver=2019-09-19-092535-743" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Harris County Flood Control District</em></a>, 2019].</p><p>Unfortunately, many existing measures of disaster equity fall short. They may be unidimensional, using single indicators such as income in places where underlying vulnerability processes suggest that a multidimensional measure like racialized poverty (Figure 2) would be more valid. And criteria presumed to be objective and neutral for determining resource allocation, such as economic loss and cost-benefit ratios, prioritize asset value over social equity. For example, following the <a href="http://www.cedar-rapids.org/discover_cedar_rapids/flood_of_2008/2008_flood_facts.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2008 flooding</a> in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cost-benefit criteria supported new flood protections for the city's central business district on the east side of the Cedar River but not for vulnerable populations and workforce housing on the west side.</p><p>Furthermore, many equity measures are aspatial or ahistorical, even though the roots of marginalization may lie in systemic and spatially explicit processes that originated long ago like redlining and urban renewal. More research is thus needed to understand which measures are most suitable for which social equity analyses.</p>
Challenges for Disaster Equity Analysis<p>Across studies that quantify, map, and analyze social vulnerability to natural hazards, modelers have faced recurrent measurement challenges, many of which also apply in measuring disaster equity (Table 1). The first is clearly establishing the purpose of an equity analysis by defining characteristics such as the end user and intended use, the type of hazard, and the disaster stage (i.e., mitigation, response, or recovery). Analyses using generalized indicators like the CDC Social Vulnerability Index may be appropriate for identifying broad areas of concern, whereas more detailed analyses are ideal for high-stakes decisions about budget allocations and project prioritization.</p>
By Jessica Corbett