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Moscow’s Sweltering Summer Breaks Heat Records

Moscow recorded its hottest June 22 in 142 years Tuesday when the temperature hit 31.9 degrees Celsius. Sergei Vedyashkin / Moskva News Agency

Russia’s capital has experienced record-breaking temperatures throughout the month of June and is bracing for an all-time high in the next few days, according to meteorological data cited by the state-run TASS and Interfax news agencies.

Moscow recorded its hottest June 22 in 142 years Tuesday when the temperature hit 31.9 degrees Celsius. The day before, the city saw its hottest June 21 in 65 years when thermometers rose to 31.1 C.

The temperature in Moscow is likely to climb to 36 C in the next few days, beating the all-time record of 34.7 C set in 1901, Evgeni Tishkovets from the Phobos meteorological center said Sunday.

Other places in Russia are also experiencing extreme heat conditions. 

St. Petersburg has just had three record-breaking hot days in a row, after experiencing other weather anomalies in May. The temperature on Monday rose to 30.7 C — 0.3 C higher than it was on the previously record-hot June 21 in 2006. Tuesday is likely to be another record-breaking day for the city, local meteorologist Alexander Kolesov told TASS.

Similar temperatures have even been recorded in the Arctic. On Saturday it was 31.1 C in Tyumyati in the republic of Sakha, which is 4,100 kilometers from Moscow and inside the polar circle. Siberia’s Kotelny Island — one of the northernmost pieces of land on Earth experiences a record-breaking temperature of 17.6 C on the same day.

The heatwave will break in Moscow next week, Tishkovets said. 

Long-term, however, scorching summers are likely to become more common in Russia, as the country is heating up 2.5 times faster than the rest of the world.

The frequency of extreme weather events around the world has doubled over the past 20 years and the same dynamic is true for Russia, the head of Russia’s Hydrometeorological Research Center Roman Vilfand told the Ura.ru news website in June 2020. 

Last year extreme heat caused record-breaking wildfires in Siberia, and experts have warned of a repeat this year. By the end of the 21st century, Moscow and St. Petersburg might be surrounded by temperate deserts instead of temperate forests, scientists at Aalto University predicted in a recent study.

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