A rare series of lightning strikes were recorded near the North Pole over the weekend, in what is seen as further evidence that the planet is rapidly warming.
On 10 August the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Alaska recorded several lighting strikes within 300 miles of the North Pole and about 700 millies north of the Lena River Delta of Siberia. "This is one of the furthest north lightning strikes in Alaska forecaster memory," the National Weather Service said.
Lightning near the North Pole very rare
Lighting does happen north of the Arctic Circle with Weather.com reporting it typically occurs over the southern parts of the Arctic Ocean. As for lightning strikes as far North as witnessed over the weekend, it has rarely been seen. The lightning storms close to the North Pole are being attributed to thunderstorms that formed in a layer of unstable air in the atmosphere's middle area. “The probability of this kind of event occurring would increase as the sea ice extent retreats farther and farther north in the summertime,” says Alex Young, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, Alaska told Wired.
Because thunderstorms are created by warm air moving upward, this is being cited as even more evidence that the planet is warming at a rapid rate. It also comes as July clocked in as the hottest month ever recorded in history. During the month of July Alaska broke an all-time record with Anchorage reaching 90 degrees. It surpassed the 85 degree record set on June 14, 1969, at Anchorage International Airport. Anchorage wasn't the only city in the state to set records in terms of temperature. According to reports at the time, Kenai and King Salmon both reached 89 degrees for the first time.
Warming planet causing wildfires in the Arctic
The heat in Alaska and other parts of the world are causing widespread wildfires that are burning vegetation and killing trees. About 634,000 acres in Alaska has burned in fires so far in 2019. In the Arctic, with the temperature warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, its sparking wildfires as well. In Russia, 11 regions have been affected by wildfires. Wildfires were also burning in Greenland during July.