Siberia braces for record cold temperatures

Siberia braces for close to record-breaking cold over New Year, with temperatures predicted to hit freezing -50 degrees

Russia’s Hydrometeorological Center has forecast that Western and Central Siberia will see temperatures as low as -50 celsius before the end of the year – around 20 degrees lower than the typical December cold.

Earlier this year, in the height of summer, the highest-ever temperature seen above the Artic Circle was recorded, with the small town of Verkhoyansk seeing the mercury reach as high as +38.

“Extremely cold weather in Siberia has not happened for a long time,” explained Roman Vilfand, the scientific director of the Hydrometeorological Center, noting that the upcoming freeze will come close to the all-time record. “The temperature is 20 to 24 degrees below normal. For example, in the center of the Krasnoyarsk Region, it will reach -50 degrees.”

According to Vilfand, extreme cold is also a consequence of climate change, pointing out that “global warming is not only high temperatures, but also a large amplitude of variability.”

The volatility of temperature was highlighted at the start of December, when the north of Siberia saw temperatures more than 10 degrees higher than the norm, with parts of the country breaking records for the highest-ever detected temperature for that period. For example, on December 1, the Yakutia village of Saskylakh saw temperatures reach -4.4, beating the previous high of -7.7, set in 1954.