The heat in the large Russian region triggered widespread forest fires in June, associated with an estimated 56 million tonnes of carbon dioxide – more than the annual emissions from some industrialized countries such as Switzerland and Norway.
This, say researchers, would make such an event “almost impossible”
Researchers found that climate change increased the chance of prolonged heat by a factor of at least 600 and warned that greenhouse gases released by the fires and melting permafrost will further heat the planet and reduce the planet’s reflectivity from loss of snow and ice.
Siberia experienced its warmest June on record – up to 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average – according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a program affiliated with the European Commission.
The region tends to experience large fluctuations in temperature month to month and year to year. But the temperature in the region has remained well above average since 2019, which is unusual.
“The results of this rapid research – that climate change increased the chances of prolonged heat in Siberia by at least 600 times – are truly astonishing,” Andrew Ciavarella, lead author of the researcher and senior discovery and attribution researcher at the Met Office, said in a statement.
“This research is further evidence of the extreme temperatures we can expect to see more frequently around the world in a warming global climate. It is important that an increasing frequency of these extreme heat events can be moderated by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he added. he.
The researchers said that even in the current climate, prolonged heat was still unlikely, with such extreme conditions expected to occur less than every 130 years.
But without rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, they risk becoming frequent by the end of the century, experts warned.
CNN’s Zamira Rahim and Hilary McGann contributed with the reporting.