How the Arctic Circle just eclipsed 100 degrees


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How the Arctic Circle just eclipsed 100 degrees

Temperatures hit triple digits at a Russian town in the Arctic Circle on Saturday, either breaking or nearly breaking the hottest temperature on record in this polar realm.

Preliminary observations, spotted by French meteorologist Etienne Kapikian, show the heat reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk (which would eclipse an Arctic Circle record set over a century ago, in Alaska). That's over 30 degrees warmer than usual for Verkhoyansk in June.

In the relentlessly warming 21st century, it's increasingly common for heat records to get broken. High temperature records today far outpace new low temperature records. Now, the potentially record heat in Siberia has created ideal conditions for robust fires that are releasing bounties of heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere.

What caused such extreme heat in Siberia? It's a combination of a hot weather pattern and climate change.

Temperatures haven't just been unusually warm in Siberia recently — they've been atypical for nearly six months now. "It's been remarkable to watch the persistent warmth (relative to average) continue over Siberia since early winter," said Zachary Labe, a climate scientist at Colorado State University's Department of Atmospheric Science.

But with summer comes the potential for extreme heat.