(Fires Flare in Central Siberia As Temperatures Near 90 Degrees. Image source: Lance-Modis)
Today, a heatwave circling the Arctic set its sights on central Siberia. Temperatures soared into the upper 80s to near 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) over a vast region of Siberian tundra, setting off pop-corn thunderstorms and sparking large, ominous fires reminiscent of the blazes that roared through this region during late June of 2012. Those fires were so large they sent a plume of smoke over the Pacific Ocean and blanketed valleys in western Canada.
Each individual fire in the above image hosts a plume of smoke about a hundred miles long. The fire to the far left, hosts a very long smoke plume of at least 350 miles in length.
You can see these soaring Siberian temperatures and related fires on the Arctic weather map below. Note the instances of 32 degrees Celsius temperatures (which is 89.6 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale).
(Siberian Heat. Image Source: Uni-Koeln)
If you look to the right side of the above map, you’ll see a large swath of pink spanning the Arctic from Norway all the way to the Pacific coastal region of Siberia. The most intense heat is located directly in the center of this zone where sporadic readings of 90 degree temperatures start to pop up. Fires are also shown on this weather map, indicated by a vertical black bar with a squiggly black line at the top.
Heatwave conditions also appear to have re-flared in Scandinavia where numerous instances of 80 degree + weather appear.
Alaska is in its ‘cool night-time’ phase. But even now, some locations in the interior are showing ‘lows’ of 70 degrees — which is hotter than usual highs for this time of year in that region.
Looking at the Jet Stream map for today, we see three anomalous pulses rising up over each of these regions.
(Image source: California Regional Weather Service)
The Siberian pulse rises just to the edge of the Arctic Ocean. The Scandinavian pulse hits the top of Norway and Sweden. Meanwhile, the Alaskan pulse rides all the way up into the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
Jet Stream waves should not penetrate so far into the Arctic. It is a situation facilitated both by eroding sea ice and by loss of snow cover during spring and summer. As of May, both sea ice volume and Northern Hemisphere snow cover were the third lowest on record. Back in September of 2012, Arctic sea ice hit a record low volume that was 80% below levels seen in the early 1980s.
This mangling of the Jet Stream has also been implicated in a number of severe weather events (spawned by blocking patterns associated with large waves in the Jet Stream) including the extreme European Winter and Spring of 2013, the US Drought of 2012-2013, Hurricane Sandy, and, now, various heat-waves striking the Arctic.