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Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season

By Anna Liesowska
19 May 2020

Abnormally hot May weather resembles midsummer with air temperatures as high as +35C.

People were seen coming out of coronavirus lockdown to enjoy sunbathing - not bathing yet as the water is too cold - in parks and beaches all around Western Siberia. Picture: Da.ria Krasnoyarsk

A steady heat wave has been dominating the large part of Russia from the Ural Mountains to Tuva republic for weeks since the middle of April. 

Record-breaking air temperatures ranging from +30C to +35C were observed all around Western Siberia including Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city by population, Krasnoyarsk and nearby areas like Omsk region, Tomsk region, Kemerovo region and the Altai mountains.

Ice on the mighty Yenisei River at its port Dudinka in the Arctic north of Krasnoyarsk region started breaking almost a month before its usual time at the beginning of June. 

Further south in Krasnoyarsk there is extreme activity of ticks, with the number of them spiking 200 times above the norm. In Siberia ticks quite often carry encephalitis and Lyme disease.

Over a thousand people have already reported tick bites in Kuzbass region. 

In Tyumen region doctors have been lately registering one hundred cases of tick bites a day, said head of regional infectious hospital Galina Polushkina.

Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 
Residents of Novosibirsk are seen enjoying SUP surfing and sunbathing, as ice on the mighty Yenisei River at its port Dudinka in the Arctic north of Krasnoyarsk region started breaking almost a month before its usual time at the beginning of June. Pictures: social media, Denis Denisov 


People were seen coming out of coronavirus lockdown to enjoy sunbathing - not bathing yet as the water is too cold - in parks and beaches all around Western Siberia.

Apple and bird-cherry trees which normally bloom from middle to end of May were in full flower by late April, weeks ahead of their ‘normal’ schedule. 

Cottonwood trees that send clouds of fluff around streets of Siberian cities from middle to late June are blossoming now. 

A flower known as Northern Orchid (Cypripedium macranthos) was pictured blooming a month ahead of schedule by state inspector on Altai Biosphere reserve and photographer Sergey Usik. 

Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 
Abnormally hot May weather resembles midsummer with air temperatures as high as +35C. Pictures from Krasnoyarsk region, Krasnoyarsk and Dudinka via social media and Denis Denisov


Other natural cycles got broken, too, with dragonflies waking up in forests and flowers like Paeonia anomala and Asian globeflower blossoming four, five weeks earlier than usual. 

‘It’s like there was no spring and we moved from the end of winter with metres-high piles of snow straight into summer.

'There was no spring, no weeks-long gentle rise of temperature. Somebody just clicked ‘hot air’ switch on at the end of April, and summer began. I’m Siberian-born and lived here for sixty years, I don’t remember a single spring like this’, said journalist Sergey Zubchuk from Barnaul. 

Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season
Residents relax in the sun in the city of Omsk. Picture: Vera Dutova


Record heat was spotted in oil-rich town of Surgut with air warming to +28C in the middle of May, which is ten degrees C above the norm. 

Last time similarly warm temperature above +20C was recorded decades ago in 1947, 1957 and 1962. 

‘The heat wave came to us from the southwest, almost from Iran’, said associate professor Alexey Kozhukhovskiy from the department of Geography at Siberian Federal University. 

He also said that relatively warm winter played a role in extremely high temperature of this May. 

Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 
A flower known as Northern Orchid (Cypripedium macranthos) was pictured blooming a month ahead of schedule by state inspector on Altai Biosphere reserve and photographer Sergey Usik


Normally winter weather on the huge territory from Mongolia to the Taymyr peninsula is formed by Asian maximum, otherwise known as Siberian anticyclone. The anticyclone is an area of high air pressure which brings cold weather.

This year is ‘dissipated’ unusually fast, Kozhukhovsky said, which affected air temperature both in winter and in spring.

Unusually hot and dry weather shifted the agricultural calendar in Western Siberia by at least a couple of weeks so that seeding started in the middle of April.

Might this lead to richer harvest?

Associate professor Vladimir Kumpan, a specialist in Agricultural Sciences at Omsk State Agrarian University, said early flowering will not lead to a large crop, but rather will negatively affect its quality.  

A flower known as Northern Orchid (Cypripedium macranthos) was pictured blooming a month ahead of schedule by state inspector on Altai Biosphere reserve and photographer Sergey Usik
Hot and dry weather have also added to lockdown misery by spiking a number of forest and steppe wildfires in Western Siberia, with two million hectares destroyed by the end of April and a fear of a lot more infernos to come should the weather continue to stay this hot. File image Ministry of Emergencies Yakutia


Leaves of cereal crops sown in April were going yellow weeks later in May, he said, which points to lack of moisture and can damage crops if hot weather persists. 

‘April 2020 was atypically warm for Omsk region. The development of plants, specially fruit and berry plants, is currently ahead by two, two and a half weeks.

'We saw pear and apple trees blossoming simultaneously which is very rare. Abnormally hot weather can adversely affect pollination and subsequent fruit setting’, Dr Kumpan told 'Omsk Zdes’ newspaper.  

Hot and dry weather have also added to lockdown misery by spiking a number of forest and steppe wildfires in Western Siberia, with two million hectares destroyed by the end of April and a fear of a lot more infernos to come should the weather continue to stay this hot. 

Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season. Pictures from Altai Nature Reserve by Sergey Usik, Tatiana Klimenko 

Hot and dry weather have also added to lockdown misery by spiking a number of forest and steppe wildfires in Western Siberia, with two million hectares destroyed by the end of April and a fear of a lot more infernos to come should the weather continue to stay this hot

Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season 


Where is our spring? Locals in Western Siberia say it feels like they skipped a season

Comments (8)

Climate change is a natural event. Adapt or just stop whining about it!
SteveC, Odessa FL USA
24/05/2020 22:45
10
30
Thank you Alexander. Trollius (europaeus ) in the Alpes are lemon yellow ......with flowers ...it is good mood.. they make my days...!
Jocelyne, FRANJOU
24/05/2020 15:01
6
0
@Jocelyne, FRANCE Trollius in Latin
Alexander,The Siberian Times, Novosibirsk
24/05/2020 02:24
7
1
Beautiful pictures..as usual ..does somebody know the Latin spécies name of these wonderful orange flowers? Ranunculus...? thank you
Jocelyne, FRANCE
23/05/2020 21:48
6
1
When I was little growing up from the cold war.All I saw was Men in the same black fur caps with grey long coats around shabby buildings.Nice to see the true beauty of it all.Nice buildings,beautiful country, people in nice clothes.

I so hope it does not start an early fire season.No fun seeing smoke half the summer.
James, Alaska
22/05/2020 04:19
17
1
Stunning photography...and models too!
SteveC, Odessa FL USA
21/05/2020 09:28
11
19
True. The weather has been very strange so far in my country. A very wet (and mild) winter and now a very dry and sunny spring. I wonder how next summer will be in my country.
Erik de Wilde, Hulsberg, the Netherlands
21/05/2020 07:21
19
0
Why don't you make the connection to anthropogenic climate change in the article? You should really make people aware of the hell that is coming with increased temperatures, wild fires and crop failures.
Antony Warne, Cambridge, UK
20/05/2020 16:32
44
13
1

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