It's a song of ice and fire.
Even when temperatures drop to 75 degrees Celsius below zero — that’s a startling -103 Fahrenheit, some of the frostiest temperatures on Earth — massive “zombie fires” continue to burn below parts of Siberia, United Press International reports.
The area contains some of the coldest permanently inhabited places on the planet, like Oimaykon, a rural jurisdiction populated by only around 500 people.
Despite historically low temperatures, a number of wildfires, also known as peat fires, are still burning tucked beneath a deep layer of snow and ice. In fact, these fires can burn for months or even years.
A video shared by The Siberian Times shows one such fire, casting pillars of smoke out of small holes in the snow.
Zombie fires burn at -60C outside Oymyakon, the world’s coldest permanently inhabited place. Local photographer captures pillars of smoke rising above the underground peat fire https://t.co/71IjPxc49c pic.twitter.com/o8CTLO0nPE
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) December 2, 2021
Ice and Fire
The snow and ice acts as a thermal insulator and barrier, protecting the scorching temperatures below in a bizarre weather phenomenon.
Just like their summer counterparts, these wildfires release plenty of greenhouse gases into the environment. In fact, the melting of permafrost only adds even more carbon dioxide to the mix, as NBC-affiliated station KXAN points out.
Making matters worse, climate change is drying out otherwise fire-resistant vegetation, allowing peat to act as a fuel. In fact, Oymaykon experienced record temperatures this summer, reaching 88.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s a matter of extremes, in other words. The region is experiencing record colds right now, with temperatures dropping to -76 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing schools to close, The Siberian Times reports.
And the cold isn’t about to let up, either.
READ MORE: ‘Zombie fires’ burn despite temperatures plunging to 74 degrees below zero [United Press International]
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