While much of Western Europe is experiencing an unusually cold spring, Northwestern Russia is feeling the heat. Wildfires in the region have spurred temperatures up several degrees, marking a stark contrast between Russia and the rest of Europe.
On May 13, for instance, the Barents Sea hit 27 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists have pointed out this is a full twenty degrees higher than the average temperature in the Arctic Circle.
Siberian wildfires are raging in the expansive wilderness, and many meteorologists are partly blaming the high temperatures in the region on the blazes. Authorities in Russia believe the fires might actually be the same ones that were raging last year. After being mostly contained, the flames could have simply continued smoldering throughout the winter. Now, with drier weather and warmer temperatures, the flames have flared back up from their embers and are blazing anew.
Meteorologists have been tracking exceptionally strange weather patterns over Western Europe and much of North America. Spring has been unusually cold and wet for these regions in 2021, with the low temperatures at night often dipping down to around 4 Celsius before jumping back up to 24 in the daytime. This frustrating back-and-forth has many eager for spring to be fully underway, even as we’re nearly halfway into the calendar year.
Meanwhile, a few hundred miles to the east, Russia is experiencing sweltering heat. Meteorologists have pointed out that technically no records have been broken yet, and the pattern can’t be accurately described as a “heatwave.” However, the temperatures are high enough to be concerning.
When one of the coldest countries on the planet is experiencing spring temperatures that beat out the average in Western Europe, it’s a sign of something strange. The culprit, as it always is with modern weather patterns, is likely global warming. Climate scientists note that global warming leads to extremes in temperature on both ends of the spectrum.
For instance, in February, the US state of Texas was under a blanket of ice that froze the state for a week. The state had rarely even seen snow previously, let alone a deep freeze. Now, the Arctic Circle is seeing temperatures that would be more at home on the shores of the Mediterranean. As permafrost thaws and the weather only becomes more unpredictable, climate scientists keep an anxious eye on Siberia and western Russia.