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Warmest December since 1886: Moscow without snow

Christian Fernsby |
The Moscow region is in the throes of one of its warmest winters in 140 years, when temperatures were first systematically recorded.

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Topics: MOSCOW    SNOW   

The temperature in the Russian capital rose to 5.4C on 18 December, topping the previous record for the month set in 1886.

Moscow has been so warm this December that the government has resorted to sending trucks filled with artificial snow to the city centre.

The abnormally warm temperatures come as concern grows about the effect of global climate change on Russia.

Permafrost under the country’s northern towns is slowly melting, and receding Arctic ice is driving hungry polar bears to forage in urban areas.

Videos of the delivery for a snowboarding hill went viral on social media as observers noted the irony of bringing snow to a city that spends millions each year on its removal.

“This is all the snow there is in Moscow. It’s being guarded in Red Square,” one Instagram user wrote, accompanied with a photograph from near the Kremlin.

The balmy December weather has interrupted hibernation at Moscow zoo and caused crocuses, lilac and magnolias at Moscow State University’s apothecary garden to flower early.

Zoo officials said that they had put five jerboas, a type of hopping rodent with long hind legs, into specially refrigerated enclosures to encourage them to hibernate.

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