In summer 2019, the physicist Gareth Rees flew into Yakutsk to meet a team of Russian scientists. The far eastern Siberian port is known as the coldest city on Earth, but that year it was simmering under a heatwave. Together the researchers drove deep into the region’s sprawling forests on a road paved by gulag prisoners.
The British and Russian scientists were on a mission to study how the boreal forests of the subarctic region are transforming with climate change. Together they measured 2,000 trees, sweating under the heavy clothes protecting them from crowds of insects.