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Sea ice disappears from the Laptev Sea north of Russia in June 2021. NASA via Axios Visuals

An intense and expansive heat wave has gripped parts of Siberia, northwestern Russia and Scandinavia, inducing a record plunge in sea ice cover in the Laptev Sea, which is part of the Arctic Ocean.

Why it matters: Due largely to human activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation, the Arctic is warming at a rate more than twice as fast as the rest of the globe.

The details: In parts of north-central Siberia, temperatures have reached 45°F above average for this time of year, while other parts of Arctic Russia and Scandinavia have baked in record heat as well.

  • Some of these same areas saw record heat and wildfires grip the landscape and melt adjacent sea ice last year.
  • In Helsinki, the temperature did not drop below 72.5°F on the night of June 21-22, setting the national record for the highest minimum temperature recorded in June.
  • Several locations in Finland set monthly June high-temperature records, and the national June record almost fell Tuesday.
  • Record heat also affected Belarus and Latvia.

What's next: Scientists are keeping close tabs on climate trends in Siberia due to the massive amounts of carbon and methane stored in now-melting areas of permafrost.

  • Also, researchers are monitoring the 2021 Arctic sea ice melt, which will hit its annual minimum extent in September or early October.

Go deeper: Key Antarctic ice shelf is speeding up its collapse

Go deeper

Gina McCarthy: Extreme heat the "silent killer" from climate change

Photo: Axios

The Biden administration is taking a "whole-government approach" to address the challenges posed by extreme heat, White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said at an Axios virtual event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: McCarthy's comments come two days after the Biden administration announced a multi-agency plan to combat the threat posed by extreme heat, including addressing inequality in heat exposures.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.