Air Temperature

Alongside the other months of this winter, the air temperature in February in most part of Russia remained above-normal. From the first days of February to the end of the month, new record-breaking temperatures were reported in many regions, e.g., in Siberia, Yakutia and Trans-Baikal, as well as in the central, north-west, polar and southern territories of Russia. The average air temperatures in each of the three decades exceeded the normal values by 6-15° or more in most of the country. In Taimyr, the anomaly in the third decade reached 16-17°. In Khatanga, the daily-averaged temperature was almost 25° above the normal value on February 25.
The north-west was the only part of the country to resist this unprecedented inrush of heat. There, the weather was remarkably colder than usual in the first decade, e.g., by 5-10° or more in Chukotka, but the decade-averaged anomalies became close to normal later on.
In any case, February in Kamchatka, Kolyma and Chukotka was colder than normal on the average (by 2-4° or more in some places), but the rest of Russia was obsessed by fantastic heat, with the monthly-averaged temperatures exceeding the normal value by 10-12° or more in Siberia and in the Urals, and by 4-8° or more elsewhere in the European and in the Asian parts of the country alike.

As a result, this February became the warmest in the meteorological chronicle of Russia. The record achieved twenty five years ago was beaten. The monthly-averaged air temperature in all Federal districts excluding those in the northern regions of the Far East entered the Top Ten of highest values recorded for 130 years of regular meteorological observations since 1891. It was attributed to rank 1 in Siberia where the absolute maximum was reached in February, to rank 2 in the Urals, and to rank 3 in the North-West, Central and Volga Federal Districts.
Throughout the past winter, new maxima of air temperature were reported in different regions of Russia: mainly in the ETR in December, and then, in most part of the Asian territory as well. Finally, the record-breaking warmth in the last month of the calendar winter occupied almost all Russia with the exception of the Far East.
In total, winter 2019/2020 became the warmest in the meteorological chronicle of Russia. The previous achievement of winter 2015/2016 was surpassed by as much as 1.3°. The season-averaged air temperatures were above-normal almost everywhere, and the anomalies in most of the Russian territory were 6-8° or higher. The exception was the north-east of the country (the Magadan Region, the Kamchatka Territory and the Chukotka Autonomous District) where the average air temperature in this winter was close to normal.
The absolute maximum of the average winter temperature was reached both in the European and in the Asian territories. This winter became the warmest in history in the North-West, Central, Volga, Ural and Siberian Federal Districts. Moreover, the previous maxima were dramatically exceeded: by 1.5-2.0° on the average, and by 3° in the centre of Russia.
East Asia enjoyed warm weather. On the monthly average, the air warmed up to 2-4° above the normal value everywhere in China, Mongolia and Korea, and to 1-3° above it in Japan. The anomalies were about one degree less in South-East Asia.
In most of India, the air temperature was close to normal or slightly higher than that. But in the east of the country, February was colder than usual. In Pakistan and all over the Near and Middle East, the air temperature was above-normal.
Spring warmth came to Central Asia. In Kazakhstan and in the Central Asian republics, the monthly-averaged air temperature was 3-8° or more above the normal value. Here and there, new maxima of the daily-averaged air temperature were recoded.
Abnormal heat spread to almost entire North Africa. In Algeria and in the countries of the west coat, the monthly-averaged air temperature exceeded the normal value by 2° or more. Yet, in some countries of Central Africa, chiefly in the area of Lake Chad, the month was cooler than usual.
Warm weather reigned in Europe. In France, the thermometer readings rose above +25° as early as at the beginning of February, which was never observed before. New temperature maxima were reported in a number of Eastern European countries where the monthly-averaged air temperature exceeded the normal value by 4-7° or more. The anomalies were slightly lower, of about +2-5°, in the west and the centre of the continent. In the bottom line, the average temperature in February on the European continent became the second highest for 130 years of meteorological observations, conceding the leadership to February 1990 only.
February was warm in North America too. In the USA, Mexico and most of Canada, the monthly-averaged air temperatures were above the normal values, by 2-3° or more in Mexico, in the east of the USA, in some places in the north of Colombia and Venezuela, and in the south of Canada. The average air temperature in the east of the USA, from Pennsylvania and Maryland to Maine, was among the ten highest in the history of meteorological observations. The north of Canada and especially the US state of Alaska were the only exceptions where this February was noticeably colder than usual: by 1-2° in Canada and by 6° in Alaska. The weather was somewhat colder than usual in the western United States.
This winter was very warm not only in Russia, but in the whole Northern Hemisphere as well. Its average temperature regained the maximum value (to an accuracy of 0.1°C) recorded in winter 2015/2016. The season-averaged air temperature was notably higher than normal almost everywhere in Europe, Asia and North America: by 2-8° or more in Eurasia, and by 2-4° or more in North America. Alaska was the exception where the temperature was 2-4° below the normal value, along with Northern India and a number of water bodies of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans where this winter can also be considered to a certain degree cooler than usual.
In Europe, the past winter was the warmest in the history of regular meteorological observations: its average temperature was higher than the previous maximum value recorded in winter 2006/2007. In the USA and China, this winter is among the five warmest ones.
In Moscow, the monthly-averaged air temperature in February was -0.3°, and the anomaly was +7.4°. In the meteorological chronicle of the capital, it is the second highest result after February 1990 when this temperature exceeded 0°. Yet, winter as a whole was unrivalled concerning the seasonal averages: its average temperature was non-negative for the first time in history and exceeded the previous maximum recorded in winter 1960/1961 by as much as 3°.

Ocean Surface Temperature

The SST of the Atlantic Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere remained very high in February 2020: its average value was lower than in February 2004 only. The SST anomalies in the past month were positive in most of the Ocean besides the northern areas between Greenland and Ireland where they were traditionally negative. Large positive anomalies (more than 1°) were observed off the north-west coats of Africa and to the south of Newfoundland.
In the Pacific Ocean, the distribution of positive and negative anomalies was more diverse. Still, no large negative anomalies took place where large positive ones were present. Sub-normal SST values were observed on the surface of the Sea of Okhotsk. The phase of the Southern Oscillation was still neutral.


In Russia, the precipitation totals in February were 1.5 to 2.5 times greater than usual almost everywhere from the Baltic region to Yakutia and to the Amur. The North Caucasus Federal District and individual South Siberian regions (viz., the Republic of Khakassia and the Irkutsk Regions) were the only areas to receive them in normal or reduced amounts. Elsewhere, extraordinary precipitation was recorded in many areas of this vast territory where Atlantic cyclones brought rains and snow during the whole month.
The unmatched precipitation totals were also recorded in certain regions of the Far East. For example, some Primorye regions were overwhelmed by snow in amounts twice the normal precipitation figures after the cyclone at the end of February. Still, the monthly-averaged precipitation was scarce in most of this region: less than half the normal value in the Khabarovsk Territory, the Sakhalin and Magadan Regions or in the Chukotka Autonomous District, and close to zero in the Jewish Autonomous Territory.
In Korea and in the east and south of China, a lot of precipitation was observed, with the normal values exceeded by 2 to 3 times in some places, especially in the north-east Chinese provinces. In Japan, the monthly precipitation totals reached the normal values in individual locations, yet failed to achieve these values in most of the country.
Almost no precipitation was recorded in the continental regions of South-East Asia.
The same is true for India. There, the precipitation was above-normal in the east of the country only, by 2 to 3 times or more in the areas from the Uttar Pradesh to Odisha.
Even though the precipitation amounts in Iran and in the Near East were sub-normal in general, they did reach the normal values in some regions. Still, February had a distinct exquisite glamour over there: it was the second time in a hundred years when Baghdad has ever seen a snowfall. The northern Iraqi regions were bombed with snow for several days in succession. Unprecedented snowstorms were reported in the province of Kirin where the local authorities informed on fatalities and on hundreds of settlements cut off from the outside world. The snowfall in the Georgian city of Batumi lasted for about a day and created snow banks 20 cm high. Likewise, snowfalls took place in Syria and Saudi Arabia although they are quite a rare event in the Near East plains.
Much precipitation in February, 1.5-2.5 times the normal value as a rule, went to the Middle Asian republics and to Kazakhstan with the exception of its western regions. A heavy snowfall occurred in Almaty. Snow deposited on wires was up to 30 mm in diameter breaking them under its weight and dragging power transmission towers and trees to the ground.
The weather remained dry in North Africa excluding the north of Egypt where the precipitation amounts were normal, or increased in some regions.
Precipitation was abundant in Europe except for the south of the continent where it was noticeably less intensive than usual. Everywhere from the UK and Ireland to Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, its normal monthly amounts were exceeded by 1.5-3.0 times or more. New maxima of precipitation totals were reported in the Baltic countries. Great Britain and Ireland were covered with snow which disrupted transport connection and was the reason to cancel classes in schools. Snowfalls and heavy rains accompanying the Dennis an Ciara storms in the UK and Ireland led to flooding all over the countries and overflows of rivers, resulting in 30 to 90 mm daily precipitation totals. Nobody would be surprised by snow in the Carpathian mountains in winter, but heavy snowfalls and blizzards on the plain and on-shore Kherson territories are quite rare. Accompanies with freezing rains at the beginning of February, they resulted in ice build-ups and numerous accidents. In terms of liquid precipitation, more than 10 mm of celestial moisture could be accumulated daily. Heavy showers took place in the Baltic states. Up to 20-35 mm of rainwater was recorded in Greece and Croatia each day.
In the USA, most precipitation went to the eastern and southern states, amounting to 1.5-2.5 times the normal quantity. The precipitation totals everywhere from Virginia to Alabama and Florida were in the Top Five of the largest values in history. At the same time, almost no precipitation was observed in the west. In certain areas of California and Nevada, no precipitation was recorded at all, and this February in the latter states was the second driest in the history of meteorological observations.
Canada, the northern neighbour of the US, did not acquire much precipitation. The only areas with the monthly precipitation amounts close to the normal value were along the both coasts and in the polar region; in the remaining territories, precipitation was sub-normal. Much precipitation, above 2-3 times the normal value in places, was delivered to the Pacific coast of Mexico.
In the north of South America where winter in the Northern Hemisphere is routinely a season of rains, Columbia was the country to suffer from heavy showers caused floods and landslides and, combined with mud flows, resulted in major losses in the transport and urban infrastructures of the country.
In the USA, the precipitation totals during this winter entered the list of Top Ten largest values in history in the territory from Illinois and Ohio to Alabama and Florida; in this territory, they were even larger along the coast from Virginia to Florida so as to occupy the first three ranking positions in this list.
In Moscow, 39 mm of precipitation was recorded in this month. This is normal both for February and for winter in overall. A stable snow cover in the capital settled up on January 23 only, the ever latest date for such an event, and its height was only 11 cm – the smallest value in history until now.
Poor solar radiance above Moscow in January remained the same in February. As for the whole winter, the Sun was clearly visible for 72 hours only, opposed to 123 hours as usual. This is the second shortest duration after winter 2003/2004 when it amounted to 69 hours.