The year 2019 was the hottest recorded in Russia since the first weather readings were taken there about 130 years ago, the country’s meteorological service disclosed on Monday, at a time when Moscow faces a rare winter without snow.
“Generally speaking, this year in Russia was the warmest in the history of instrumental observations,” said the director of the Hydrometeorological Centre, Roman Vilfand, quoted by Russian agencies. He said the average annual temperature recorded in Moscow in 2019, which was between 7.6 and 7.7 °C, beat the existing record by 0.3°C.
Meteorological measurements began in Moscow in 1879 and were extended to the rest of Russia in 1891.
The Russian capital is now going through a strangely mild winter, which is of concern to many in a country particularly affected by climate change.
In the past two weeks, Moscow’s weather has easily topped the 4°C mark, whereas the normal average for December is -6°C. Generally, that means a thick layer of snow, but for now that is desperately absent. Plants that traditionally announce the advent of Spring are already flowering, three months – and even more – before their usual time.
According to meteorologist Anatoli Tsygankov, December in Moscow was practically 10°C above average. The phenomenon is due to passing cyclones blowing in from the Atlantic as well as climate change.
This summer, Siberia was also hit by exceptional forest fires, directly linked by experts to climate change.
The year 2019, with its share of climate disasters, will be one of the three hottest years registered since 1850, and caps a decade of exceptional heat, the United Nations warned in early December.