New Scientist Default Image

Fire and melting ice: The Arctic is having a terrifyingly bad year

Colourful houses in summer at Longyearbyen in Svalbard, Norway

kjekol/Getty Images/iStockphoto

“THE conditions we’ve seen in the Arctic this year have been truly remarkable, and not in a good way,” says Michael Meredith, a polar researcher at the British Antarctic Survey.

Even for a region that has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the planet, this year’s Arctic fires and ice melt have been extraordinary. The first half of 2020 has seen temperature records tumble in one of the coldest places on Earth.

The symbolic milestone of 100°F was passed in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk in …