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Russian winter. Image from englishrussia.com – click
From the RT News service: Coldest winter in 1,000 years on its way
04 October, 2010, 22:20
After the record heat wave this summer, Russia’s weather seems to have acquired a taste for the extreme.
Forecasters say this winter could be the coldest Europe has seen in the last 1,000 years.
The change is reportedly connected with the speed of the Gulf Stream, which has shrunk in half in just the last couple of years. Polish scientists say that it means the stream will not be able to compensate for the cold from the Arctic winds. According to them, when the stream is completely stopped, a new Ice Age will begin in Europe.
So far, the results have been lower temperatures: for example, in Central Russia, they are a couple of degrees below the norm.
“Although the forecast for the next month is only 70 percent accurate, I find the cold winter scenario quite likely,” Vadim Zavodchenkov, a leading specialist at the Fobos weather center, told RT. “We will be able to judge with more certainty come November. As for last summer’s heat, the statistical models that meteorologists use to draw up long-term forecasts aren’t able to predict an anomaly like that.”
In order to meet the harsh winter head on, Moscow authorities are drawing up measures to help Muscovites survive the extreme cold.
Most of all, the government is concerned with homeless people who risk freezing to death if the forecast of the meteorologists come true. Social services and police are being ordered to take the situation under control even if they have to force the homeless to take help.
Moscow authorities have also started checking air conditioning systems in all socially important buildings. All the conditioners are being carefully cleaned from the remains of summer smog.
From the Voice of Russia
This year’s winter may be the harshest – Polish climatologists
According to Polish climatologists, the Gulfstream- the Atlantic warm current, which protects Europe against the Arctic cold, is cooling fast. It might even disappear completely, they warn.
Russian meteorologists disagree with the pessimism of their Polish counterparts, agreeing though that the speed of the Gulfstream has indeed been reduced two-fold for several years. The Scandinavian countries are already feeling the breathing of the Arctic.
The Polish climatologist, Mikhail Kovalevski [sic] believes that if the trend continues, the climatic zones will move North and Europe will become a permafrost area for ever. But after looking at satellite pictures, NASA officials say that the global warming of the past 18 years has made the Gulfstream stronger and warmer. Russian meteorologists however hold the middle ground, Alexander Frolov, head of the Russian Meteorological Agency says.
The Gulfstream is powerful and is not declining; it warms up Europe, and consequently, it has a high significance for both Poland and the Scandinavian nations. But access to the heat might be restricted by the thawing of the ice and the turning of the water fresh – that is cold fresh water may appear on the surface, preventing the heat from going into the atmosphere to have an impact on the climate. We do not overestimate such a phenomenon, Frolov says.
He agrees that the Arctic ice is thawing fast, and according to the specialists, the area of the ice is now 4.8 million kilometers-600 thousand kilometers less than in 2007. said Frolov. That is the third minimum area of ice ever recorded since the beginning of meteorological observation. The Arctic is indeed very warn at the moment, particularly the western part, Frolov says.
But despite the warning in the North Pole, winter will set in, and according to the preliminary forecast by Russian weathermen, the country will have a normal Russian winter, perhaps not as harsh as last year, Frolov says.
January will be the coldest and February will produce a mixture of weather, he said. He promised Russians a two-week frost in many regions of the country-most likely in the northern parts.