June 2020 tied for the planet’s warmest on record, closely matching the anomalously toasty temperatures observed globally during June last year. But one region, in particular, saw heat virtually off the charts — Siberia. Uncharacteristically warm weather and at least one instance of triple-digit heat thawed vast stretches the Arctic, contributing to a flare-up in wildfires and melting away permafrost in a process set to accelerate the pace of human-induced climate change.

It was Siberia’s hottest June on record, beating out the previous record holders — 2018 and 2019 — by a significant margin, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a science division of the European Union.

Across the entirety of Arctic Siberia, June temperatures averaged about nine degrees above normal. A few places bordering the Laptev Sea in northeast Siberia spent the month 18 degrees above normal. An anomaly like that would be the equivalent of New York City averaging a high of 104 and low of 87 degrees every day during the month of July.

Signs of the Arctic warming at a breakneck pace

A look at the progression of Siberia’s temperature anomalies over time. (Copernicus/ECMWF)

Climate scientists have long concerned themselves with Siberia and the Arctic, zones which are outpacing almost everywhere else in the world when it comes to climate warming by a factor of almost three. The heating in this region unlocks several large-scale feedback mechanisms that quicken the rate of climate warming even further.