Air temperature

Warm weather that set in the European Territory of Russia in February remained warm at the beginning of March. In the first decade, new daily maxima of air temperature were recorded in the Komi Republic as well as in the Vologda, Tver, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ryazan, Moscow and Smolensk Regions. The decade-averaged temperatures exceeded the normal values everywhere except for the Russian North and the Crimea. But in the second decade, the temperature patterns changed sharply. Cold weather prevailed in the central and southern regions of the ETR, daily temperature minima were recorded in the Middle and Lower Volga regions, and the air cooled down to -30…-37° in Udmurtia, the Kirov Region and the Perm Territory. In the south, night frosts were observed, new daily temperature minima were measured in the Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories, and the average temperature anomalies in the second decade could reach -5° or lower values. But in the north of the ETR, the cold of the first decade was replaced by the record-breaking warmth, and the decade-averaged temperatures were 1-2 or more degrees higher than normal. The third decade turned everything upside down again and brought back positive anomalies everywhere save for the southern regions. New daily maxima were recorded in Karelia, in the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Regions, in the north-western region, in the north-east of Central Russia, in the Middle Volga and in the Republic of Mari El.
As a result of all these perturbations, the monthly-averaged air temperature was remarkably higher than normal (by two or more degrees) in Karelia and in the Murmansk Region only; otherwise, the averages were normal in most of the ETR, with weak negative anomalies in the south and partly in the Volga region and weak positive ones in the rest of the territory. This March was colder than February in the Central Federal District, and has not been so cold in the south of the ETR for more than ten years.
To the east of the Urals, the weather was noticeably warmer than usual for most of the month, and sub-normal air temperatures were only observed in the second decade in Siberia. At the end of March, abnormally warm weather settled in Chukotka and resulted in new maxima of daily temperature in this region.
In terms of the monthly averages, the air temperature was two or more degrees higher than normal in the Asian Territory of Russia, and 4-8 or more degrees higher in the north-east. The weather was very warm in the Arctic region of Russia: anomalies in the Novaya Zemlya, Yamal, Taimyr and the Kara Sea reached +4…+8° and more.
Abnormal heat covered the Asian continent from the Middle East to China and Japan. There, the monthly-averaged air temperatures exceeded the normal values: by 2-6° in China and Mongolia, by 2-3° in Japan and Korea, by 1-2° in the countries of South-East Asia, by 2-5° in India and Pakistan, and by 2-4° in Iran and in the countries of Central Asia. The countries of the Middle East, along with Turkey, were the only ones where the weather was cold and the monthly-averaged air temperatures were 1-2° below normal. In China, this March was the warmest in the history of meteorological observations, with new records of heat set for the second year in succession. In India, this month was the second warmest March after the record-breaking March 2010.
Likewise, the weather in most of North Africa was abnormally warm. The anomalies exceeded +2° in the south of Algeria and +2-4° across the Horn of Africa. Negative anomalies of monthly-averaged temperature were only recorded in the north-east of the continent (in Egypt, Libya and Sudan).
In a large part of the European continent, March was warmer than usual, especially in the western and northern areas. The normal monthly values of temperature in France and Germany, in the UK as well as in the Benelux and Scandinavian countries were exceeded by two or more degrees. However, this month was generally cold in the southern European counties such as Italy, Greece and the Balkans: there, the monthly-averaged air temperatures were lower than normal (most notably, by impressive 1-2 or more degrees lower in Greece where the frosts reached -7…-10° in the north of the country). The weather in the Scandinavian countries was very volatile: in the middle of the month, the thermometer readings in Norway, Sweden and Finland would rise above +15°, while on the last days of March, new temperature minima were recorded in these countries as well as in Denmark and in North Ireland.
On the North American continent, the background of monthly-averaged air temperature was basically close to normal. The normal values were noticeably exceeded along the western and eastern coasts (this amounted to anomalies of +2-3° and more), as well as in Alaska and in the Arctic region of Canada (anomalies of +2-4° and more). At the same time, negative anomalies of monthly-averaged temperature were recorded in the region of the Great Lakes and to the north of it, and partly in the west of the USA.
In the Arctic, the weather was very warm this March: its monthly-averaged temperature was the second warmest in the ranking list since 1891. March 2011 was the only one when the weather in the Arctic was even warmer.
The average air temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was ranked the 3-5 highest according to the ranking list compiled since 1891.
In Moscow, the average temperature in March was -0.7°, corresponding to an anomaly of +1.5°. March in the capital turned out to be colder than February.

Ocean Surface Temperature

The SST background in the Pacific Ocean remained higher than normal. The temperature averaged over the entire surface of the Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere reproduced its absolute maximum as of 2004 regardless that La Niña, the cold episode of the Southern Oscillation, was still active in the east of the equatorial latitudes. However, it should be noted that the magnitude of negative anomalies decreased to some extent. Abnormally cold water in the Pacific survived off the US coast, but a much larger area was occupied by positive anomalies: in the east of the central part of the Ocean and off the Asian coast, they were 1-2 or more degrees higher than normal.
As for the Atlantic Ocean, most of its area in the Northern Hemisphere was also occupied by positive SST anomalies that were remarkably high (+1…+2° or higher) along the US coast and further to the east. Anomalies in excess of +1° were observed in the Gulf of Mexico or in the North and Baltic seas as well. Yet, negative SST anomalies did also take place off the coasts of Canada and Greenland, and in the tropical part of the Ocean.


In the ETR, the precipitation totals in March were subnormal in most constituent entities of the Federation. Aside from the southern regions, the Black Earth Region and certain parts of the Volga region and of the Russian North were the only areas to receive precipitation in normal amounts, or in increased amounts in some places. In the south, the precipitation figures were normal or above-normal almost everywhere in the Southern and North-Caucasian Federal Districts: 1.5 times the normal quantity in the Krasnodar Territory, North Ossetia and Dagestan, and two or more times greater than normal in the Astrakhan Region. Heavy snowfalls were not uncommon phenomena still. They took place in the Crimea, in the Black Earth Region and even in the Sochi region, creating snowdrifts up to 10-15 cm high during a single day. In the Astrakhan, Voronezh and Kostroma Regions, heavy rains brought up to 20-30 of atmospheric moisture per day. New daily maxima of precipitation totals were recorded in some places.
In the Asian Territory of Russia, precipitation in March was ample, reaching or exceeding the normal amounts almost all around. The figures were noticeably (1.5-2.0 times) higher than normal in the Tyumen Region, in the Republic of Altai, in Evenkiya, in the Magadan and Amur Regions, in the Kamchatka and Primorye Territories, and in the Jewish Autonomous Region.
In China, a lot of precipitation fell in very warm weather conditions. The normal amounts in the central and eastern regions of the country were exceeded by 1.5-2.0 or more times. Meanwhile, almost no precipitation was observed in the west, namely, in Tibet and in the province of Qinghai. The quantities in Mongolia and Japan were either normal or decreased.
In South-East Asia, rains were abundant, and caused floods in some places. The normal monthly figures were exceeded by 2-4 times.
The weather was completely dry in India and Pakistan as well as in most of the Near and Middle East where not a drop of rain fell over a large area. Rains took place in the east of Turkey, in Transcaucasia and in Syria only, and produced the normal precipitation amount over there. In March, this region was hit by snowfalls twice: in the first decade, they targeted Istanbul, and in the second decade, Georgia and the north-east of Turkey. No such snowfall has been seen in Tbilisi for 15 years.
No rains fell in most of North Africa, with the exception of the areas along the Mediterranean coast and the countries of the Gulf of Guinea where the monthly precipitation totals were close to normal. Flash flood was reported in the south of Ethiopia.
Rains flooded the countries of Central Asia where the monthly rainfall totals were normal or higher than that; in fact, 1.5-3.0 higher over a large area.
In Europe, this March was dry. The precipitation amounts were subnormal almost everywhere, and often did not even reach a half of their normal figure. Heavy rains occurred on the Iberian Peninsula only, where the normal monthly totals were exceeded by 2-3 or more times in some locations. These rains stopped a long-lasting draught in Spain. Intensive snowfalls took place in the northern regions of Greece.
In the USA, the normal precipitation figures were reached in the east of the country only, from the Atlantic coast to North and South Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. Torrential rains pelted in the south-east, bringing up to 130 mm of daily rainwater to Alabama. The rivers overflowed their banks, and the floods were induced. The weather to the west of these states was dry, the precipitation totals not even reaching half the normal monthly amount. The normal or above-normal precipitation quantities were only received in the north-west due to rains along the Pacific coast. In Canada, precipitation was subnormal in most of the country. The normal or above-normal amounts were only observed in the south of the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, as well as in the region of Vancouver. In most of Mexico, no rains at all were recorded.
In Moscow, 16 mm of precipitation was measured, amounting to 47% of the normal monthly quantity. In the 21st century, the only other year when March in the capital was just as dry was 2015 when 14 mm of precipitation fell for a month.