A record number of dangerous meteorological events were registered in Russia in 2014
A dramatic increase in the number of dangerous meteorological events is a reality supported by observations, points out the “2014 Report on the special aspects of climate in the territory of the Russian Federation”. This Report is an official publication and a joint effort of Roshydromet’s think tanks; it highlights that a trend toward the global warming persists and strengthens. That being said, air temperature increase in Russia is about twice larger, than the global average. In Russia, it is spring, rather than winter, that becomes much warmer.
“Warming is a global process, so atmospheric and oceanic physics may even get the temperature down in some locations. The growing number and intensity of dangerous events is much more important and indicative”, comments Alexey Kokorin, Head of climate and energy programme, WWF, the global conservation organisation.
In 2014, an absolute record in the number of dangerous events over the whole period of record was registered: 569 floods, strong rainfalls and hails, squalls and gales, heat waves, snowstorms, etc. Statistics take account of any and all dangerous events, except tsunamis, for they are of a different nature. In 2013 and 2012 there were 545 and 536 such events respectively versus 150-250 some 15-20 years ago.
These events are getting more intense, too, especially in the spring-and-summer period. Most events (386) caused damage. A flood in Altai was particularly devastating, resulting in 850 million rubles damage to the Altai Republic in May 2014 alone.
“2014 was much better, than the previous years, in the ratio of the total number of extreme weather events to those that caused damage. One may hope that we learn and begin taking Roshydromet’s warnings and projections in a more responsible manner”, adds Alexey Kokorin. “However, we must get prepared for the persistence of the negative trend, as universally projected. Obviously, not all dangerous events result from the human impact on the Earth climate system or from CO2 emissions. However, this cause-and-effect relationship can be clearly traced for strong precipitations and abnormal temperatures”.
According to the Report by Roshydromet, in 2014 CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere exceeded the 400 ppm threshold. Global emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases keep growing primarily in the largest developing countries. China has left the U.S. far behind in the overall emission, and India is currently ranking third. Russia has eventually shifted to the fourth position in this anti-rating, whereas the damage caused by extreme weather events is showing a dramatic growth.
The global community is to simultaneously address two challenges: emissions reduction and adaptation to the new conditions and the effects of climate change, most of which are adverse even for northern countries. A new UN climate agreement is expected to be signed in Paris late in 2015 to replace the Kyoto Protocol. This new document will have to address both emissions and adaptation issues.
WWF-Russia is positive that the data by Roshydromet should serve guidelines for action, primarily in early adaptation in all sectors: health care and emergency alertness, environmental protection and transport infrastructure transformations. However, one can hardly get ready for everything. It is also important to reduce CO2 emissions, especially if such reduction is in line with national energy efficiency improvement plans.
For more information about the Report please see Roshydromet’s website: www.meteorf.ru.