It is a summer Thursday morning, and let’s be honest: right now, life is not normal—not for anyone. Whether this is COVID, the recent protests that have taken the world by storm, global instability or any other host of issues, things are not normal.

But as the issues of the day begin to stack up, and with no clear resolution, old problems continue to persist. Before the protests, there was still a pandemic. Before the pandemic, there was still questionable leadership and before questionable leadership, there was climate change.

For as much as the topic of climate change has increasingly dominated our public discourse, the frequency of such conversations haven’t been without cause. In America, we have seen an increased frequency of superstorms, nor’easters, tornadoes, droughts, as well as their subsequent wildfires. Weather events such as droughts and fires have also been observed in Latin America as well as Africa. But in traditionally-cold places such as Antarctica, The Arctic, and the Alps, weather events are becoming more drastic as these areas become subject to more intense summers.

Recently, the Grist reported that just as we are beginning summer, temperatures in the Arctic have already surpassed 100 degrees. Mind you, this is in a part of the region where summer temperatures tend to average at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit for the June monthly average. Other parts of the region have also seen records that have measured upwards of 40 degrees above average.

Now, before you go ahead and assume that because the Arctic is hot, the rest of us will “scorch”—understand that is not how climate change is currently affecting our planet. According to NASA, the Arctic Region has been warming almost 2.3x faster than the rest of the world. While the whole earth has warmed by an average of 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 40 years, the Arctic has warmed by 3.5 degrees over the same period of time.

Recently, this has resulted in a months-long heatwave for the region, which has corresponded to multiple forest fires, and the overpopulation of certain insect species. More worryingly, however, is that Arctic permafrost has begun to melt, and release very high amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Scientists speculate that this alone could have permanent ecological implications for the planet, and be a tipping point in climate change.

Namely, heating of the arctic region can adversely affect the polar jet stream, which sends cool air around the northern hemisphere. This has traditionally been driven by temperature differences between poles and more central latitudes. But as these poles heat up, these temperature differences can become misaligned. This can mean unexpected bursts of warm air to the north or unexpected bursts of cold air to the south. In the summer times, this jet stream can become split, and trap warm air at high latitudes which would cause extended summer heatwaves in places such as the arctic, along with winters that have more days of freezing temperatures.

The issue of climate change is one that we all must be vigilant about. As evidenced in regions such as the arctic, while many of our lives may not feel drastically affected by climate change, it is clear that its effects are real, and that we probably will not like their greater implications. For some, this may be as simple as a disruption in leisure activities such as skiing. For others, it may be a disruption of business activities, such as farming or managing livestock. For the residents of the Siberian arctic, it can mean a disruption of their lives. But for now, I am sure that at least a few residents are trying to enjoy the warm weather—and savor the rare experience of having a summer that feels, well, like summer. (via The Grist)