Weather records 2012
By Vestnik Kavkaza
“There are various interpretations of what a good forecast is. From the point of view of meteorologists, a good forecast means a precise forecast. From the point of view of consumers, a good forecast is forecasting good weather,” the head of the HydroMetCenter of Russia, Roman Vilfand, thinks.
According to him, in 2012 some unusual records were registered. For the first time in history the average annual temperature in one of regions, i.e. in water areas of the Arctic Ocean, was surpassed by 7 degrees. This is a huge index. You remember in July 2010 the difference in temperature in Moscow reached 7.8 degrees. Temperatures were higher than the norm by 8 degrees, and it caused catastrophic consequences. We all remember it. Even if the average daily temperature differs from the norm by 7 degrees, it is notable. Here we have a difference in average annual temperature from years-long temperature by 7 and more degrees. The region is the north of the Kara Sea, between Severnaya Zemlya and Frantz Josef Land. This record will hardly be beaten in the near future. That is why in September 2012 the smallest ice cover of the Arctic Ocean was registered. I remind you that in 2011 the situation was close to this, i.e. warming in north regions, in Polar regions took place, this fact is obvious.
There is another region which was the warmest in 2012, the hottest – the North American Continent: in the USA and Canada average annual temperature surpassed the norm by 2.5 to 3 degrees, despite some regions where it was lower than usual, for example, Alaska. Nevertheless, this year was the hottest for the US. In Russia the average annual temperature was lower than in 2011 by 0.5 degrees.
Some regions of our country, Western Europe and North America experienced great drought. It was the greatest drought in a decade. Thus, the grain and bean harvests were the poorest in the last 10 years. In grain-producing regions of the North Caucasus and South Federal Districts, in the central Black Belt, in the southern Urals, Western Siberia, the Golden Belt of the USA, strong drought was observed from April to September. This year was a record in this sphere too.
In 2013 a series of dangerous phenomena was registered in the first week of January. Firstly, strong winds were registered in the Pacific Ocean coast of our country – 35-40 m per sec. The weather in Primorye is very cold – temperatures reach 40 degrees below zero, even though its latitude is similar to Ukraine. The weather in the North Caucasus and South Federal Districts was very negative – heavy snow, mixed precipitation, problems with electricity systems. Very cold weather was observed in Tyva. The weather in North Ossetia-Alania was a real problem. Traffic on the TransCaucasian highway was closed on January 7th, according to recommendations of the Russian HydroMet. Six hours after sending recommendations, 30 avalanches crashed on the road. On January 8th, when the situation became better, active measures were taken – shooting dangerous avalanche areas. Three avalanche centers were worked out; 7 avalanches were caused. But one of the spontaneous avalanches partially destroyed infrastructure at the north portal of the Rokski tunnel.
Prediction, analysis and forecasting for avalanche areas in geographically-difficult territories are a feasible task. Accuracy of avalanche forecasts is 98%. Avalanches are connected with a series of factors: accumulation of snow, snow cover depth, mountain slides, and a structure of mountain cover. We have special studies in this sphere; warnings on avalanches are published from 5 days to several hours ahead of them, but they are always sufficient for warning people. In the last 10 years the quality of avalanche forecasts has improved significantly.
Very cold weather in December caused threats to vegetation of winter crops. Of course it is not everywhere, but in certain regions: the Saratov, Samara and Orenburg regions, southern Rostov regions, Kalmykia – regions where snow cover was less than 2-3 cm and the land was free from snow; temperature at the depth of tillering zone was 13-15 degrees below zero. This is dangerous for underdeveloped winter crops. 17-18 degrees below zero is dangerous for developed winter crops – grain, rye.