Russia confirms record high temperature in Siberian town

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the Taiga wood burning near the village of Boguchany, about 560 km (348 miles) northeast of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, June 2, 2011. Dry, hot weather, dry thunder storms and human factors influenced the distribution of the fires in Siberia, according to Emergencies Ministry members. Picture taken June 2, 2011. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s state weather authority said on Tuesday a remote town in northeastern Siberia had registered a record high temperature of 38 decrees Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit) during a heat wave that has alarmed climate scientists.

The reading was first reported earlier this month in Verkhoyansk, north of the Arctic circle, prompting the World Meteorological Organization to ask Moscow to confirm the data.

Confirming the temperature has been reached on June 17, Roman Vilfand, head of science at Russia’s Hydrometcentre, told a news conference that hotter weather was being recorded in the region because of an increase in anticyclones.

“Specialists assess that this situation will continue,” he said.

He said the “phenomenal” reading had occurred because of a powerful anticyclone in regions near the Arctic and the sun beating down around the clock.

“Verkhoyansk had still been well-known as a Pole of Cold. It recorded a record of -67.8 decrees Celsius at the end of the 1990s. Now it’s 38 degrees,” Vilfand told reporters.

The Arctic is warming at twice the speed of the global average. The WMO said last week the reading was worrying, but appeared to be consistent with warming trends.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage