Air Temperature

In Russia, the first month of calendar spring was very warm. March 2017, the warmest one in the history of meteorological observations in this country, is still in memory: back then, the monthly-averaged temperature exceeded its normal value all over Russia, with the anomalies as large as +10…14° in Siberia. This time, the anomalies were +8…10° in the same region, and were if at all negative nowhere else but in parts of Kamchatka and on some of Kuril Islands. March 2019 was the third warmest March in the Russian meteorological chronicle. In Siberia, the monthly-averaged temperature reached its absolute maximum and surpassed even the 2017-year value; in Urals, it became the second highest and in the Volga Region, the fifth highest one since the first year of regular meteorological observations, i.e., since 1891. Aside from Siberia, the unprecedented maxima of air temperatures were also recorded in Trans-Baikal, in the Khabarovsk and Primorye Regions, beyond the Arctic Circle, in Chukotka and in Central Russia.

It looks as if March that has always been associated with cold is speedily evolving into a warm month. All its three decades were abnormally warm this year almost everywhere in Russia. The weather was colder than usual only in the Russian North in the first decade (with -35° frosts in the Kola Peninsula), in the north-east of the country (the Kamchatka Territory and partially the Magadan Region) in the second decade, and in the south of the Far East in the third decade.
Cold spells in the end of the month were quite untimely in the Southern Russia. They reached -3…-5° in the night time in the Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories, and -10° in the early morning hours in Karachay-Cherkessia.
Warm weather conquered all of East and South-East Asia. The normal monthly averages of air temperature were exceeded by 2-5° in Mongolia and China, and by 2-3° in Korea, Japan and Thailand.
The monthly-averaged temperature in Southern India was close to normal or slightly above it, whereas in the north of this country and in the neighbouring areas of Pakistan it was lower than that.
In most parts of the Near and Middle East, the temperature was close to normal, yet in the south of Iran and in the east of the Arabian Peninsula it was somewhat colder than usual.
In Central Asia, abnormal heat persisted at odds with the season. The mean temperature was 2-6° above normal. New air temperature maxima were reported in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
In North Africa, the monthly-averaged temperatures were lower than usual in Egypt and in the west of the continent in Senegal and Mauritania, but close to normal or, in spots, 1-2° higher in the rest of the territory.
In Europe, the average temperature in March took the fifth place in the list of highest ones for the entire history of observations. Since April 2018, the monthly-averaged air temperature in the continent remained above normal – for exactly one year already. In this March, it was 2-4° higher everywhere from the Atlantic to Urals. New temperature maxima were recorded in Central and Eastern Europe.
In North America, cold weather in the United States contested with warmth in Canada. The monthly-averaged air temperature throughout almost all the USA was lower than normal, by 2-4° in some places in the centre of the country. The averages were only exceeded on the Gulf Coast and on the coasts of both oceans, for example, by 2-3° in California. Alaska was the only state to witness much warmer weather than usual, with the monthly anomalies of +10° or above: in this state, the past March was the warmest in the history of meteorological observations. The picture was similar in the neighbouring areas of Canada. There, the anomalies of heat also exceeded 10° backed by 2-5° in most other parts of the country. As the result, this March in Canada entered the Top Ten of the warmest ones in the history of meteorological observations.
In the north of Eurasia and America, warm weather culminated in the monthly-averaged air temperature exceeding the normal one by 4° in the Arctic Region where this month was the forth warmest March in the history of meteorological observations.
In the Northern Hemisphere, March 2019 greeted March 2017 with the same monthly-averaged temperature (identical within 0.1°C): both are ranked second after March 2016 which was the warmest in the history of meteorological observations on the planet.
In Moscow, the average air temperature in March was +0.7°, and the anomaly was +2.8°.

Ocean Surface Temperature

A weak El Nino survived in the east equatorial latitudes of the Pacific Ocean. The mean anomaly of ocean surface temperature was less than +1° in the El Nino recording area (120-170°W and 5°N – 5°S); as for the Pacific Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere in overall, this anomaly was the same as in the two previous months and less than in the end of the last year when the El Nino was formed. The ocean surface temperature was above the normal value along the coasts of China and Alaska and in individual subtropical water areas, and less than that in the Okhotsk Sea, close to the Pacific coast of Kamchatka and in certain subtropical areas.
As for the Atlantic Ocean, its mean surface temperature anomaly increased by 0.1° compared to the previous month: it happened for the first time since February 2018. Very large anomalies (more than +2° in places) were observed along the Gulf Stream, in the North and Baltic Seas, and in the west part of the Mediterranean Sea. Water was still colder than usual in tropical and central regions of middle latitudes.


In March, much atmospheric moisture came to Russia, especially to its part from the western border to West Siberia. Not only rains, but often snowfalls as well, were brought by Atlantic cyclones even to the Russian South, let alone central and northern regions. In mid-March, snowfalls run across the Krasnodar Territory, Adygeya and Karachay-Cherkessia. The height of snow cover grew to 70 cm in the Volga Region. Record-breaking precipitation of 10 mm in ten hours was recorded in Astrakhan. By and large, records were also beaten in the Perm Territory, in the Tyumen Region, and in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District where ¾ of the normal monthly amount was gained in a single day. The monthly totals of precipitation in nearly all constituent territories mentioned above exceeded their normal figures, scaling them by more than twice in the Ulyanovsk and Samara Regions, in the Republics of Tatarstan, Udmurtia and Ingushetia, and in the Krasnodar Territory.
In East Russia, the precipitation in the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal districts, mostly in normal or reduced amounts, set new records anyway. For example, the mid-month snowfall in Sakhalin and in the Kuril Islands brought up to 28 and up to 16 mm of moisture in one day, respectively.
Dry weather took hold of Mongolia and the northern regions of China. While the precipitation amounts were normal or moderately increased in the south of China, they exceeded the normal value by more than twice in the southernmost province of Guangdong.
In most countries of South-East Asia, the precipitation was scarce, but in Philippines and Indonesia with the raining season in action, it was in abundance. The normal monthly amounts were exceeded by two or more times here and there. More than 100 mm of rain fell in six hours in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Heavy showers caused floods resulting in hundreds of fatalities and in about a thousand of serious injuries. In total, more than twenty thousand people are considered victims of this natural disaster.
In India, the weather remained dry with almost no precipitations received. To compensate for that, Pakistan, another state of Southern Asia, got them in full. The Mediterranean cyclones that deluged the Near and Middle East reached this country. From the Levant to Iran, the rains in the last decade of March were particularly intense. This is extremely rare for this time of year. More than 30 mm of atmospheric moisture were recorded per day. In Iraq and Iran, the rains caused floods partially disrupting the infrastructure and blocking traffic circulation, and killing dozens of people. In some places, the total amount of precipitation exceeded its normal value by two times or more.
In Central Asia, the total amounts of precipitation were exceeded the normal value almost everywhere from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan, by 2 to 3 times in certain areas. The floods in the west of Afghanistan killed dozens of people, destroyed hundreds of houses and left many wheat-growing areas under water.
In North Africa, dry weather prevailed, exactly as it should have been. The coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and of the Gulf of Guinea were the only areas of rains, in some places so intensive as to exceed the normal total amounts of rainwater by two times or more.
Europe was under the canopy of the Azores High and thus received very little moisture in March. In most countries between the Atlantic and Ukraine, the total monthly amount of precipitation was at most 20-30% of its normal value. No precipitation at all was observed in certain southern areas of France and Italy. However, heavy showers did occur in Europe. For example, the second decade was rainy in Greece where the daily precipitation was up to 20 mm, and the third decade, in the Balkans with up to 30 mm on account. In the Carpathians, snow did not stop falling yet. Nevertheless, only Northern Europe got all precipitation it deserved. In the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, in the UK, in the north of Germany, in Belgium and in Holland, the amount of precipitation accumulated for the month was close to normal or even 1.5-2.0 times greater in some places.
In the USA, large amounts of precipitation were observed. Their monthly totals everywhere from the Pacific to the Atlantic except for the southern states and the New England exceeded the normal values; in certain areas of the Midwest, Rocky Mountains and Pacific coast, by 2 times or more. The second decade of March was the most stressing for the country. Rains and rapid melting of snow resulted in a record-breaking high water that flooded a large part of Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas. Snow was falling in the mountainous areas of Colorado. The flood of the Missouri River was most devastating for the last 120 years, and an emergency was declared by the authorities of the affected states. The preliminary estimates point at financial losses of $3 bn caused by weather disasters during this month.
In Canada, the northern neighbour of the USA, the weather was dry as a rule, but snow was still observed in the polar regions. In Mexico, the southern neighbour of the USA, rains were rife in the northern part (exceeding their normal monthly outcome by 2 to 3 times) but very rare in the central and southern parts.
In Moscow, 41 mm of precipitation accumulated for the month, amounting to 120% of the normal figure.