These extraordinary pictures give graphic new evidence of climate change.
Recently, experts have sounded warnings about the impact of climate change, with one warning that the energy-rich Yamal Peninsula in Siberia could be flooded due to a rise in sea levels - along with some famous cities. Picture from Barnaul, Western Siberia, courtesy Sergey Scherbin, Barnaul.fm
We highlight December images taken in recent days in two Siberian cities Krasnoyarsk and Barnaul showing scenes that locals insist are unprecedented in living memory. The startling pictures from Krasnoyarsk show an almost total absence of snow yet as every school child around the world knows, snow is what Siberia is all about.
No more, it seems. The images of the River Yenisei with ducks splashing in the water, and grass in the parks, could be from autumn rather than deep in the winter in a city where December temperatures have gone as low as minus 47C, and the daily mean in minus 13C at this time of year, with plenty of snow on the ground.
As in many areas of Siberia this winter, the thermometer is reluctant to plummet to customary bone-chilling temperatures. Last night when we checked outside, it was a mere minus 3C. Day time temperatures lately have been warmer. As mother-of-two Anastasia said from Krasnoyarsk: 'I'm reading a book to my children and I hear the tapping of the rain in my ear. Rain? Rain??? Rain in the middle of December? In Siberia?'
The images of the River Yenisei with ducks splashing in the water, and grass in the parks, could be from autumn rather than deep in the winter in a city where December temperatures have gone as low as minus 47C. Pictures: Sergey Lazarev
Sergey Scherbin's images and footage from the historic west Siberian city of Barnaul - gateway to the Altai Mountains - are every bit as stunning, but not just because of the haunting beauty of the river scenes. The iceflow on the mighty Ob resembles the spring snow melt. This December scene is out of sync with the natural cycle. By this time of year, many Siberians expect to be fishing through thick ice on their rivers, and driving their vehicles over these sturdy 'winter roads'.
Not here. A similarly warm winter - and a lack of snow - has been reported from many places across Siberia and is a talking point especially among our senior citizens who can give some perspective to the debate. 'I cannot believe my eyes,' said one elderly local in Barnaul. 'This doesn't happen'.
In Novosibirsk, we asked 83 year old Fyodor Olifirenko to compare this winter to others he has known.
'I do not remember such a warm December,' he said. 'In 1963 there was some thaw on December 24-25, it was raining a bit. But by morning all was frozen and after that started strong frosts. But such weather - when it is constantly raining in the middle of December - I see this for the first time'.
So what do the academic experts say? Well, we'd like to hear from you, whether Russian or foreign? Help us understand these weather blips in Siberia? What do they mean? We will cover your views on the missing snow in future stories.
Stunning, the December ice flow on river Ob near the historic city of Barnaul. Picture: Sergey Scherbin, Barnaul.fm
In Tomsk, a hardy group of residents pose almost naked to highlight the unseasonably warm weather. You will notice the ice around them, but their city this week has enjoyed day time temperatures above zero, in a month when the mean is expected to be minus 15C.
So they are right to highlight something unusual going on. And it's true that last year when they pulled off a similar stunt, the temperature was minus 34C.
The snow shortage in Siberia during the past few weeks in the latest weather to defy expectations this year. The summer saw bikinis in the Arctic, as residents in Norilsk sunned themselves in temperatures as warm as Nice and Naples.
But the Far East of Russia experienced devastating floods over many weeks, from which locals are still recovering as the Amur River spilled its banks.
Recently, experts have sounded warnings about the impact of climate change, with one warning that the energy-rich Yamal Peninsula in Siberia could be flooded due to a rise in sea levels - along with some famous cities.
Alexei Kokorin, head of the WWF project 'Climate and Energy' predicts a one metre rise in ocean levels by the end of the century. 'The problem of flooding will primarily affect tropical countries and such metropolises as Hong Kong, Calcutta, Shanghai - they will simply cease to exist. In Russia, in danger of being flooded are the Yamal Peninsula, the federal city of St Petersburg and the Leningrad region.'
'We should prepare for extremes of heat, an increase in drought (the difference will be noticeable in the next 10-20 years). With the increase in average temperature may appear insects, unusual for a particular locality. Speaking globally, in the coming decades climate will become even more unstable: the number of hazards (ice rains, drought, floods) will increase by two to three times. And Russia is no exception.'
Last December it was -34C in Tomsk, feel the difference! Pictures: Anton Perebeinos
Academician Vladimir Kotlyakov, honorary president of the Russian Geographical Society, highlighted the rapid process of melting Arctic ice. He believes that it will bring 'climate anomalies, non-uniform in space and time which will have mixed effects, including within the territory of Russia'.
He forecast: 'The entire modern way of life on Earth is that any global climate change may be adverse for people. The fact is that the entire current economic way established and rapidly developed only in a narrow interval of time - almost the last century. Because of this, it has adapted to the same climatic environment.'
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