Arctic temperatures 2.5 degrees higher than normal in 2018, fall and winter warmest since 1938

Air temperatures were 2.5 degrees Celsius higher than normal in the Russian Arctic in 2018, especially in the Eastern Arctic, where temperatures exceeded the norm by 3.56 degrees (the fourth highest value since 1936), while winter and fall 2018 were the warmest since 1938, the Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry said in a report entitled On the Environmental Status and Protection in the Russian Federation in 2018.

“On the whole, winter temperatures in the Russian Arctic were the highest since 1936, especially in the eastern sector where the seasonal temperature anomaly reached 6.33 degrees Celsius above the norm. Fall temperatures were 3.52 degrees higher than normal on average. The summer was the sixth among the warmest there have been. Negative temperature anomalies (up to -2 degrees) were seen in spring in the European part of the country (except on the Kola Peninsula), the Urals, in the Ob Inlet, and in the Yenisei delta,” the report said.

“Much attention has been given lately to climate change in the Arctic, through which the Northern Sea Route passes. The area grew warmer in the second half of the 1990s and maximum temperatures were seen in winter 2018 and in summer 2016. Winter warming was much more pronounced than summer warming. As of 2001, the icebound area of the Arctic seas has been declining rapidly, reducing to 300,000 square kilometers in 2005. Over the past 14 years, the ice cover has been four times smaller than in the 1980s. It neared 200,000 square kilometers in 2018,” it said.

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