Air Temperature

Recall that March of the previous year was the warmest March in the ETR for the entire history of meteorological observations. Judging by the trend of recent years, it seemed that this month could now be called warm rather than cold time of year. But no, March 2021 proved that this would be too early to do. Most of the time, cold anomalies of air temperature prevailed in the ETR. New minimum values were recorded in the Russian North, central Russia and the Volga region: more exactly, not just the daily minima, but the historical minimum temperatures for March. 35-degree frosts crackled in the north of the ETR. Warmth came in the third decade only, and what is more, to the west, north and centre of Russia, but not to the southern region where subnormal temperatures were observed still. As the result, the monthly-averaged air temperatures in most of the ETR were close to their normal values, that is, normal values known to be calculated for 1961-1990, years before the prime of global warming.
In the Urals and to the east of them, the picture was different. This month in the Ural Federal District was colder than usual. Colds down to -40° and below were still freezing the north of Siberia and of the Far East. March in Taimyr, Evenkiya, the north-west of Yakutia, parts of Chukotka and the north of Kamchatka was colder than normal. It was 2-4° or more degrees colder in Siberia and the Urals. Yet, the record-breaking heat often prevailed in the southern regions (the republics of Tyva and Buryatia, the Tyumen, Irkutsk, Amur and Sakhalin Regions, the southern areas of Kamchatka and the Kuril islands). The monthly-averaged temperature in these territories was 2-4° above the normal value.
In all parts of the Asian continent to the south of Russia, March was abnormally warm. In the east, the monthly-averaged air temperatures exceeded the normal values by 2-4° or more in China, Korea and Japan, and by 4-8° or more in Mongolia. This March in China was the warmest in the history of meteorological observations.
The monthly-averaged temperatures in the countries of South-East Asia were 1-2° higher than normal.
The anomalies were about the same in India, and reached +2-4° in Pakistan.
In the Near and Middle East, the normal temperatures were exceeded by the same amount. In the countries of the Arabian Peninsula (Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia), new temperature maxima were observed three times, while in the UAE, March 5 became a new earliest day of year when the thermometer readings crossed a 40° mark and raised above 41°. The average air temperature in May did not reach the normal value in some regions of Turkey only.
Heat excessive for the beginning of spring set new record-breaking temperature maxima in Central Asia. Yet, it happened at the end of the month; 20-degree frosts and new temperature minima were still observed in the beginning of March in Kazakhstan and in the north of Uzbekistan.
The normal values of monthly-averaged temperatures were exceeded in the countries of North Africa as well, by 2° or more in some places in the south of Algeria, in Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. The air in Niger heated up to +45°.
In most of Europe, the monthly-averaged air temperature was above-normal with the exception of the south-east of the continent (Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and partly the Balkan Countries), the southern regions of Italy and the north of Spain where the weather for the month in overall was colder than usual. The temperatures in Finland still went down close to -40° on some days at the beginning of March. Cold air from Arctic covered Europe several times: in the middle of the month, it dropped the temperature by 20° for a single day in the south-east of Spain, and decreased it to 0° in the north of Greece. The third decade of March was especially warm in Europe. New temperature maxima were recorded in Italy, Germany and Austria, in the Czech Republic, in Slovenia, in the Benelux countries, in France, Great Britain and Norway. In a number of cases, these maxima were new monthly maximum values. The temperature readings could rise above +30°.
Very warm weather spread across the eastern and central regions of the United States and Canada to result in the monthly averages of air temperature 2-5° higher than normal over large areas. In the Great Lakes region of Wisconsin and Iowa, the monthly-averaged air temperature entered the Top Ten of highest in the history of meteorological observations. But further to the west, the weather was cold for most of the month, with the anomalies reaching -1…-2° in places. In general, the monthly-averaged temperature in these countries was approximately 2° above the normal value. This March in the USA hit the Top Ten of warmest in the history of meteorological observations. In Alaska, the weather was colder than usual (with the anomalies of -2…-3° or more). In Mexico, the air heated up to +40° and above, and the resulting hot and dry weather was the cause of numerous wildfires.
The average air temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was the fifth highest in the history of regular meteorological observations since 1891.
In Moscow, the average air temperature was -1.3°, with the anomaly of +0.9°.

Ocean Surface Temperature

La Niña in the equatorial latitudes of the Pacific Ocean persisted in March. The area occupied by negative SST anomalies in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres increased, but the anomalies themselves became smaller. Negative anomalies in the Pacific Ocean spread to tropical and temperate latitudes in the eastern part of the Ocean as far as to the coasts of the USA and Canada. In the west of the Ocean, such anomalies took place along the coast of Russia from the Bering Strait to Japan. In the rest of the Ocean body, positive SST anomalies were observed: they exceeded +1° at sub-tropical latitudes. The mean SST anomaly in the Pacific Ocean decreased and now became 0.2° less than at the beginning of the year.
The mean SST anomaly in the Atlantic Ocean also decreased to roughly the same extent in the Northern Hemisphere. There, negative anomalies clustered primarily in the north, namely, in the Davis Strait and Baffin Sea, along the eastern coast of Greenland, as well as in the Barents and Cara Seas. The SST was more than 1° above its normal value off the US coast. Likewise, the SST was above-normal in the Black Sea, and in the Mediterranean Sea, especially in its eastern part.


Winter was reluctant to retreat from the European Territory of Russia and, however strange it might seem, was very obstinate in the south. The Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory, Dagestan, the Lower Volga Territory, the Rostov Region and Kalmykia received heavy snowfalls in March. It would be perfectly understandable at the beginning of the month, but not in the third decade when it happened. In some locations, up to 25-40 mm of precipitation accumulated in the form of snow and sleet. The precipitation amounts in the North-West Federal District and in the northern areas of the Central Federal District were roughly normal. In most central regions, these amounts were subnormal, but in the south, they exceeded the normal values by 2.0-2.5 times. In the Urals, they were close to normal, whereas in most regions of Siberia, above-normal; moreover, in the south of this territory (in the Tomsk, Omsk and Novosibirsk Regions, and in the Altai Territory), they were 1.5-2.0 times the normal values. There, the most abundant snow showers also took place at the end of March, creating up to 20 mm of daily precipitation in the form of snow. Quite habitually, precipitation was plentiful in the Far East: there, the normal values were significantly overshoot, often by 1.5-2.5 or more times. The record-breaking amounts of precipitation were observed in the Trans-Baikal, the Amur Region, the Primorye Territory, Sakhalin, Kuril Islands, Kamchatka and the Magadan Region. In certain places, two times the normal monthly precipitation amount accumulated for a single day.
The countries of East Asia received a lot of precipitation. In China, the monthly normal values were exceeded almost everywhere save for the southern regions, notably, by as much as 2-4 in the north of the country. The other trait of March was sand and dust storms that shrouded the north-east of the country several times. The storm that hit Beijing in the middle of the month was considered the strongest for the past tens of years by meteorologists. Dust storms from China and Mongolia even reached South Korea. In Japan, the precipitation amounts were normal.
In Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, the precipitation quantities were either normal or larger.
In South Asia, the weather was mostly dry. The north of Pakistan was the only area to suffer from torrential rains.
The weather was just as dry in the Near and Far East, Turkey being sole country to get ample precipitation, including snow in addition to rains. The normal precipitation amounts were exceeded by 2-3 times in the centre and in the east of the country.
A lot of precipitation received the countries of Central Asia in March. The normal values in this vast territory were exceeded by 1.5-3.0 times or more. The north of Uzbekistan and some parts of the western Kazakhstan were the only areas with less precipitation than usual.
The weather in many European countries was dry. The total precipitation amounts in most of the continent did not even reach half the monthly ratings. Heavy rains that fell in the south of Italy, in the Balkans, and in Greece, measured for up to 50-60 mm of rainwater per day. The normal monthly totals were hit in these locations, while in Romania, Moldova and the south-east of Ukraine they were 1.5-2.5 times greater than. Snowfalls and blizzards were observed in Scotland and Switzerland to end up with a 15-40 cm snow cover growth in the Alpine country. Most surprisingly, snow fell in Spanish Valence in the middle of the month.
Snowfalls and ice pellets were frequent in the United States. The precipitation totals everywhere excluding the north-east and south-west regions were 1.5-3.0 or more times greater than normal. Snowfalls of unprecedented intensity were observed in Wyoming and Colorado to add up to 50 cm of snow at night in some places. Heavy snowfalls were observed in the Rocky Mountains and Central Plains. Rains caused disastrous floods in the south of California, in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. The same was true for Hawaii where the rains resulted in massive landslides. On the last day of March, snowfalls covered the north-east of the country (the states of New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania, etc.).
In Canada, precipitation was scarce in the west, and normal in the rest of the country. A heavy snowfall took place in the province of Alberta.
Heavy downpours caused floods in Columbia.
In Moscow, 36 mm of precipitation was measured. This is 105% of the normal value.