Fair weather friends across Russian climate zones

Zolotrylin et al assessed the impact of climate change on Russians’ well-being in the face of increasing climate extremes.

They measured the average daily temperatures, the characteristics of heat and cold waves, and precipitation over the period 1991–2013 across the country. The results show the significant increase of extreme weather events in Russia in comparison with the last century.

The number of extremely hot days as well as of heat waves increased both over time and through territories, especially in the European part of Russia. Hot days became about 4-8 C hotter than in the last decade. Extremely cold days became rarer, with the maximum decrease  in the western regions of Russia. The frequency of hard rainfall in winter and spring increased significantly by 20–40% across much of Russia.

Scientists adapted the map “Zoning the territory of the Russian Federation by natural living conditions of the population” which highlights climate conditions for living across the country (Figure 1). The area with absolutely unfriendly  conditions is the northern part of Russia from Taimyr to Chukotka. Its severe winters and excessive humidity make it unfavourable zone to live, and with climate change the conditions just get worse.


Figure 1. Extreme natural phenomena in Russia for the period 1991–2013. The solid line shows the southern borders between the Far North and the Arctic and the terrains equated to the Far North.

The best area for life is the southern part of European Russia, where temperatures, in spite  of continuous rise, are yet suitable for the Russians’ well-being. This territory features mild winters and warm summers, and extreme natural events may occur once in 50 years. Furthermore, these climate conditions extend over the territory and shift, bringing warmth closer to the northern regions. Undoubtedly, climate change effects are obvious across whole Russia but at the moment, they play a crucial role for the northern population of Russia, while keeping the European part very warm but so far comfortable.

Original source: Zolotokrylin, A. N., et al. “Impact of climate changes on population vital activities in Russia in the early 21st century.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. Vol. 107. No. 1. IOP Publishing, 2018.

Link: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/107/1/012045/pdf

Front photo with thanks to Alexey Litvionov

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