There is no scientifically proven relationship between anomalies in nature, such as fires in some areas and floods in other areas, and global warming […] Everybody is trying to link the situation to global warming, because all anomalies are now linked to rising temperature. However, there is no scientific finding to confirm a relationship between those waves and global warming.
Over the recent months, hundreds of wildfires spread across southern Siberia in Eastern Russia, and as of August 1, the fires had burnt about 15,000 square miles, an area larger than the size of Belgium. The area has also witnessed deadly floods which took 25 lives and displaced over 30,000 people this June.
Although it is common for wildfires to take place in the northern hemisphere between May and October, the locations and intensity of these fires as well as the length of time they have been burning has been described as unprecedented. In June alone, these fires emitted into the atmosphere more carbon dioxide than was released by Arctic fires in the same month between 2010 and 2018 put together.
This unusual scale was undoubtedly aggravated by rising temperatures in the Arctic. Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), told the BBC that "temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at a much faster rate than the global average, and warmer conditions encourage fires to grow and persist once they have been ignited." Extremely dry ground and hotter than average temperatures, combined with heat lightning and strong winds, have caused the fires to spread aggressively, say scientists.
Some Russian specialists also admit that the fires are linked to climate change. For example, Maxim Yakovenko, head of Russia’s meteorological services, said that the fires are indeed linked to climate change.
As for floods, researchers at the Russian Irkutsk State University, which is based in an area that was hit by the wildfires, said that the flooding was caused by "anomalous atmospheric processes taking place amid global and regional climate change," warning that Siberia is bound to experience even more weather extremes in the future. Just like wildfires, the area hasn't experienced floods this strong in years, and is not used to having them this time of the year either.
Moreover, warming conditions are tied to deforestation, according to scientists. Timber is a major Russian exports, and environmental activists say that timber clearcutting allows vital topsoil to wash away, weakening the ability of the earth to hold extra moisture, which makes the region vulnerable to flooding.