Moscow records warmest winter since 1880 when record-keeping began

Moscow records warmest winter since 1880 when record-keeping began

The 2019/20 winter season was Moscow's warmest winter season since record-keeping started 140 years ago. This was also the first winter averaging at or above 0 °C (32 °F).

Russia's forecasting center head Roman Vilfand said that Russia's average temperature from December to February has been 2.5 °C (4.5 °F) warmer than the previous record of -2.8 °C (26.9 °F) during the winter of 1960/61. This is 6.3 °C (11.3 °F) warmer than the 1981-2010 average.

Vilfand said such differences between records were extremely unusual. "We can state with confidence that there will not be a warmer winter for a long period of time," he said.

As the data for Russia's overall record was still being compiled, Vilfand said the country as a whole is also likely to set a record for the warmest winter. In addition to the extremes, 2019 was also the hottest year ever recorded in the country. This resulted in a severe lack of seasonal snowfall to the point where officials had to import artificial snow for New Year's festivities. 

Although the rate of warming for the country was 2.5% higher than the rest of the world and the Russian government approved their national plan for the adaptation to climate change earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin said nobody knows the origins of global climate change.

"We know that in the history of our Earth there have been periods of warming and cooling and it could depend on processes in the universe," he added.

"A small angle in the axis in the rotation of the Earth or its orbit around the Sun could push the planet into serious climate changes."

December and January were supposed to be the months with maximum snowfall, but both months hit temperature records as the city saw a rare snow drought. "Winters used to be a lot harder here," said 62-year-old Alexander Stanko.

Meanwhile, other parts of Europe also faced extremely weak winter conditions. For instance, Finland's Helsinki had almost no snowfall in January or February, with only 0.2 cm (0.08 inches) during the entire winter season. France had its warmest winter as well, while Germany's ice wine harvest saw failure for the first time ever.

Featured image credit: @mariksa_10/Instagram

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