While every country is threatened by global warming, Russia is seen as particularly vulnerable. According to government data, 2020 was the warmest October in Central Russia in its 130-year history of meteorological observations.
The Central Russia District is actually in the west of the country, comprising Moscow and 17 nearby regions, including some on the borders with Ukraine and Belarus. In this area, the average air temperature broke the previous record by 0.5°C. It was set over a century ago in 1896.
Perhaps even more worrying, the average temperature in the Russian Eastern Arctic was – considering the norm – up by 10°C. In the far-north, 2020 saw the 2nd warmest October of all time, after 2016. This year has seen Russia’s climate break multiple records including the hottest temperature above the Arctic Circle when a Siberian village in Yakutia region hit 38°C in July. Later that month, wildfires were spotted in the same area, which is usually associated with extremely cold temperatures.
The latest numbers continue a recent trend of Russia’s climate regularly defying previous norms. Last month, the country’s Hydrometeorological Center revealed that 2020 saw the warmest September in recorded history.
Last month, when speaking to the Valdai Discussion Club, President Vladimir Putin explained that Russia is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. As 65 percent of the country’s territory is made up of permafrost, any drastic change could have disastrous consequences for the country’s economy and infrastructure.
“It affects pipeline systems, residential districts built on permafrost, and so on,” Putin said. “If as much as 25 percent of the near-surface layers of permafrost, which is about three or four meters, melt by 2100, we will feel the effect very strongly.”
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