One of the most northern towns in the world has just recorded its hottest day ever

Greg Evans
Thursday 30 July 2020 06:45
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Picture:(BERIT ROALD/AFP via Getty Images)

It's unlikely that many will have heard of Longyearbyen, Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago but let's just say that it is usually pretty, pretty cold.

We say, 'usually' because, in worrying news, the small town has just recorded its warmest ever temperature when it reached 21.7°C (71.06°F) on 26 July.

As reported by IFL Science, the record temperature was recorded by the Norweigian Metrological Institute, surpassing its previous record of 21.4°C which was set 16 July, 1979.

The town, which is home to just 3,000 people, is one of the most northern in the entire world and sits just 1000 km from the North Pole. It is also home to not one but two 'Doomsday vaults,' namely the Global Seed Vault and the Arctic World Archive which can safeguard artefacts from civilization, such as artwork and plant seeds, in the event of a disaster that threatened human life. However, the Global Seed Vault has also felt the impact of the climate crisis when it experienced mild flooding due to higher temperatures in 2017.

That being said, that area of the Arctic is no stranger to seeing the effects of climate change but this dramatic rise is concerning. The average high temperate in the region during the summer is said to be 3 to 7°C while winter highs are between -11 to -13 °C.

A recent report called 'The Svalbard climate in 2100' that between 1971 to 2017 temperatures increased between three and five degrees Celsius, with the highest numbers being recorded in the winter. It also found that between the years 2070 and 2100 it is expected that due to greenhouse gas emissions temperatures in the archipelago will rise by 7-10 degrees Celsius. The milder winters in the area also have an effect on the reindeer population with at least 200 dying last year due to heavier rainfall which makes the ground become icier, thus damaging the vegetation that the animals feed on.

Last month, it was reported Verkhoyansk, in Siberia, Russia had also recorded a temperature of 38C (100.4F), which is the hottest day since record began in 1885.

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