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2023 Was Russia's Third-Hottest Year on Record, Says Head of State Weather Service

Head of Russia's Hydrometeorological Center Roman Vilfand. Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

Russia experienced its third hottest year on record in 2023, the head of Russia's Hydrometeorological Center said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Global temperatures last year smashed records going back to 1850, with the planet measuring 1.35-1.54 Celcius warmer on average compared to pre-industrial levels.

While 2023 was just the third hottest ever reliably recorded for Russia overall, in the European part of the country — which includes regions west of the Ural Mountains — last year was the hottest on record, according to chief scientist Roman Vilfand.

He did not mention exactly how much warmer on average the European part of Russia was last year. 

Vilfand said greenhouse gas emissions and El Nino — a climate pattern that warms sea surface temperatures — were major contributors to last year's hot weather.

"What stands out is that the average global temperature [in 2023] exceeded the previous record in 2016 by 0.17 Celsius," he said.

"This is a huge magnitude for climatologists, unexpectedly large," Vilfand added.

Warmer temperatures are fueling more extreme weather events across Russia, which last year totaled 1,191 across the country in 2023, according to the chief scientist. 

"Very severe weather events occurred in the Primorye region in late August — there has never been such rainfall before, and Primorye was paralyzed for several days," Vilfand said.

In October, Russia updated its climate doctrine, which acknowledges the “significant, predominantly adverse” effects of climate change on the country, including heatwaves, droughts and permafrost melting.

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