For certain parts of the world, hitting 84 degrees Fahrenheit on a mid-May day is normal, welcome even. As the earth rotates on its axis, half the world is celebrating the coming summer months. But when the temperature in a northern Russian town on the edge of the Arctic circle climbed to 84 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend, scientists saw it as yet another alarm bell clanging in the ever-intensifying global warming conversation. The scientific community has been very clear in their messaging — climate change is here and we have to act now — and this news only served to underscore that belief.
According to the Washington Post, this record high was recorded in Arkhangelsk, Russia, “where the average high temperature is around 54 this time of year.” Even more alarming, in the same region, “the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eclipsed 415 parts per million for the first time in human history.”
This news comes at a time when public opinion in the U.S. is changing it’s feelings about global warming. Not long ago, nearly half of Americans thought global warming was a hoax. Now, more Americans believe in climate change than ever before (though many still don’t believe in climate action). Meanwhile, sea ice is at a record low. Hurricanes are getting stronger. Wildfire season in the west is growing in length and intensity. The hottest years ever recorded have all occurred in the past 19 years. Over 1,000,000 species are at risk of extinction. And we reportedly have about 12 years to get our carbon emissions under control.
In a Last Week Tonight segment on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal stimulus package, Bill Nye the Science Guy said, “By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on Earth could go up another four to eight degrees. What I’m saying is the planet’s on f**king fire.”
Many will surely see temperatures in Arkhangelsk hitting record highs as co-signing what Nye said so forcefully.