Temperature contrasts in Russia reached 85.6 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, the biggest difference in a single country since 1954, according to data from the Climate Reanalyzer website.
The temperature in Shatoy in the southern republic of Chechnya reached 24.5 C, while 6,000 kilometers away in Oymyakon in the republic of Sakha it dropped to -61.1 C.
“Sub -60 degrees Celsius is rare and has not been observed outside Greenland plateau in the Northern Hemisphere for 10 years,” meteorologist Scott Duncan tweeted Thursday.
Temperature anomalies and extreme precipitation levels are becoming the new normal for as climate change accelerates, UN scientists warned in their August IPCC report. As Russia is warming three times faster than the planet as a whole, the scale of climate extremes in the country could be more visible than elsewhere.
“In the 2020’s we have to pay special attention to heatwaves and droughts in Southern Russia and more extreme precipitation in other parts of the country,” the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Russia’s head of climate and energy research Alexei Kokorin told The Moscow Times.
The usual daytime temperature difference between northern and southern parts of Russia is 10-15 C, lead scientist at the Phobos weather center Evgeniy Tishkovets told the state-run TASS news agency. He added that what happened on Dec. 8 was an “extreme anomaly,” and that in European parts of Russia alone the difference was as big as 50 C.
In Pskov, a town 500 kilometers west of Moscow, the temperature dropped to -25.8 C – an all-time low for the date. Meanwhile, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Sochi and several other southern towns saw record-breaking hot temperatures.
Oymyakon’s -61.1 C temperature on Wednesday was the lowest December temperature in Russia since 1984 and one of the lowest ever recorded in the country. Since 2008, the temperature has not dropped below -60 C, meteorologist Thierry Goose tweeted.
While Russia’s 85.6 C contrast is massive, the all-time record still belongs to 1954, when the temperature contrast across the United States reached 88 C.