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WWF-Russia's experts presented a report on possible impact of climate change in Kamchatka in the XXI century

15 october 2020
Scientists name a decline of Kronotsky reindeer population, increase in nestling mortality of migratory species, and introduction of new pest species, i.e. anopheles, among the most probable threats.

Researches emphasize that this is just a forecast and the reality will depend on natural fluctuations, which can either moderate or potentiate the anthropogenic impact on the climate. The ability of humankind to keep the temperature growth within the margins of 2.5°C rise will be decisive. The moderate scenario is based on this value.

"There are several bad scenarios in the climate crisis. The worst one is that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow. If so, we may see fire seasons 20-30 days longer by the end of the century. If the moderate scenario prevails, there will be only 10-15 days added to the fire season," said Alexey Kokorin, director of WWF-Russia's Climate & Energy Program.
Fire season extension is only one side of the climate change in the region. Scientists predict that
new insects, i.e. anopheles, and plant diseases may appear in Kamchatka;
the Kronotsky reindeer population may become even smaller due to frequent snow crust and high snow cover;
time of birds nesting may shift due to air and water temperature growth and even sea currents shift which all will lead to high nesting mortality.
There are, however, some positive perspectives. Researchers assume 5-15% growth of commercial fishing take in the near-by seas, saying that such assumptions should be taken with a grain of salt because there is yet no full understanding of the processes in the Global Ocean.
"Since 2015, we have witnessed a growing number of adult pollock species in the southern part of the Chukchi Sea which has probably become warmer. This year, the All-Russian Fisheries Research Institute presented a scientific rationale for commercial fishing of more than one hundred metric tons of pollock in Chukotka. Cherry salmon in Kamchatka demonstrates another example of climate change. Cherry salmon is a warm water-requiring species widely spread in the South Kurils, Sakhalin Island, Japan, and Primorye region. Commercial fishing for Cherry salmon in Kamchatka was not talked about up to 2010. For the last ten years, we've witnessed commercial fishing for Cherry salmon growing from hundreds of kilograms to almost five metric tons in 2020," said Sergey Korostelev, coordinator of WWF-Russia's Sustainable Marine Fisheries Program.

Also, scientists predict that the near-surface ocean will become warmer, more acidic, and with less oxygen. There are areas of oxygen deficiency in the Global Ocean already, and one of them is in the North Pacific. The experts emphasize, however, that the deficiency there is rather moderate and the area is far off-shore Kamchatka which could not be the cause of the recent noted events in the Gulf of Avacha.

"The global trend of temperature growth in both winter and summer will stay. Thus, glaciers will become smaller, floods - more often, cyclones - stronger with abrupt precipitation. We must foresee and get ready for these changes which threaten human infrastructure, nature, and human health," said Alexey Kokorin.
However, some positive trends of climate change can be found as well. They are common for the whole region of the Russian Far East. For instance, there will be less cold-induced diseases and more comfortable conditions for agriculture in some regions.