hemisphere winter 2005/2006
sees temperatures plummet in eastern Europe
In January, many European
countries bore the brunt of one of the most severe regional
winters in recent years. Government officials
and emergency services throughout eastern Europe and the
Balkans reported the deaths of several hundred people in
connection with the low temperatures, which have also placed
a huge strain on national fuel consumption and reserves, as
well as wreaking havoc on traffic and public transport.
factors have contributed to the regional cold wave, in
particular, a high-pressure system over Siberia and eastern
Europe, which encouraged the arrival and establishment of
cold air from the Arctic over Europe from the north-east.
The extent of this year’s event is notable but not
unprecedented in past records and is part of the interannual
fluctuations of climate
variability, which have different impacts over different
regions. In 2005, southern Europe, northern Africa and
south-west Asia experienced very cold winter conditions as
Winter 2005/2006 has seen
temperatures plummet to -38° Celsius in Moscow— the
coldest reading for the Russian capital since the winter of
1978/1979. The respective National Meteorological Service
recorded -29°C in the Latvian capital of Riga and -27°C in
Brandenburg, Germany—both the lowest since 1956.
snow in Portugal in more than 50 years
the last weekend of January 2006, central and southern parts
of Portugal experienced their first snow in more than 50
blanket for Japan
5 February, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the
amount of snow piled in Tsunan, Niigata Prefecture,
surpassed 4 m for the first time since official observations
began in the city (1989). In January, the harsh weather
conditions prompted the JMA to issue early warnings for
snowfall, landslides, flooding and avalanches.
in Japan have reported the snow- and cold-related deaths of
some 118 people since the onset of winter, which has so far
proved to be the country’s deadliest in two decades.
Massive snowfalls have been recorded around the country with
drifts reaching record heights in some cases. Victims
included those who died when their roofs collapsed under the
weight of the snow or who fell trying to clear them.