Russia warming 2.5 times faster than rest of the world

Ice melt has made navigation in the Arctic more accessible, but has led to an increase in icebergs. (Photo: Rosatom)

Global warming will have more impact on Russian than any other area of the world, this will give the country certain advantages as longer navigation period and shorter heat supply seasons, Head of Meteorology says.


Global warming will have its effect on Russia 2-5 times sooner than the rest of the planet, Head of Russia’s Agency on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring Aleksander Frolov says to TASS.

According to Frolov, Russia will get certain advantages from global warming: “The navigation period will become longer. The heating season will become shorter, which is very important for a cold country such as Russia. Areas where grain and beans can be sowed will become significant larger, especially in Western Siberia and the Urals. The zone where you can live a comfortable life will become larger, and we can move further north,” Frolov says.

Among the negative effects Frolov mentions increased risk for fires, especially in forests and peat-bogs, and also harm to the traditional life of the indigenous peoples in the North.

Icebergs growing threat to navigation
With the climate change, icebergs have become a larger menace to navigation and oil and gas projects in the Arctic, Head of Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Siences Vladimir Kotlyakov told TASS.

The Arctic ice sheet has shrunk fourfold since 1980. This makes navigation easier, but has also led to a mass migration of icebergs that can block straits in the area.

In course of the last seven years, Arctic expeditions and satellites have discovered thousands of icebergs. “They are starting to become a serious threat to navigation and work in the shelf, including in the Kara Sea, where Rosneft has drilled its first well, and also in the Barents Sea close to Svalbard and Franz Josef Land,” Kotlyakov said.

Under the new circumstances it will be the state’s responsibility to monitor the icebergs and have them moved or destroyed, when that is necessary, the academic said.

Difficult ice conditions have probably been one of the reasons for a drop in the number of vessels using the Northern Sea Route this season. There are still no official data on the number of vessels using the route this season, but all signs point towards a drop compared to 2013, when 71 vessels took the Arctic shortcut between Europe and Asia.