Air Temperature

At the beginning of the first month of winter, abnormal colds spread over the entire ETR territory, as well as the Urals, the south of Siberia and the Far East. Record-breaking frosts were reported in the south of West Siberia, in Altai, along the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk and in Kolyma where the thermometer readings dropped to -53° sometimes. In the first decade of December, only Eastern Siberia, Yakutia and Chukotka were in the zone of excess heat, and the events of record-breaking warmth were even recorded in the north of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Although the weather in most of Russia remained abnormally cold in the second decade, relatively warm air already reached the ETR, and the decade-averaged temperatures exceeded the normal values in this territory. But in Yakutia, the weather became so cold that the air temperature as low as -61° was measured there on the night of December 12. Recall that the absolute minima of air temperature are -62.8° for December at the cold pole and -67.8° for winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the last decade of the year, warmth occupied almost all Russia, with the temperature maxima recorded both in its west (in the Kaliningrad and Black Earth regions) and in the east (in Yakutia and Kolyma). Cold air still prevailed in Trans-Baikal only.
In overall, this December turned out to be abnormally warm in Russia due to very warm third decade. The monthly-averaged air temperatures exceeded their normal values in the north of the ETR, in the Urals, in Siberia and in the Far East. The south-east of the Volga region as well as the south of the Urals and of Western Siberia were the only areas were this month was colder than usual.
The year 2022 in Russia was the second warmest in the meteorological chronicle since 1891: the only year even warmer than 2022 was 2020 when the average annual temperature exceeded 0°. Still, the annual temperature averages in 2022 where above-normal almost everywhere, with 2° or higher anomalies from Karelia and along the sixtieth parallel as well as to the south in the Far East, and with 3-5° or higher anomalies in the Arctic.
The average annual temperatures in 2022 were among the ten highest in all federal districts, were among the five highest in the North-West, North-Caucasian, Urals, Siberian and Far-Eastern Federal Districts, and were the all-time highest in the south of the Far East.
As for the monthly-averaged air temperatures, they reached the extreme values in numerous areas and in multiple months during this year. For instance, August 2022 became the warmest in the history of the ETR, of Moscow city and of the North-West Federal District. The monthly-averaged air temperatures in May were among the three highest in the Asian Territory of Russia and in Siberia separately, and those in June, in the ATR again as well as in the Far East. Yet, no month of 2022 was deemed record-warm in the entire territory of Russia.
In East Asia, the weather in December may be considered cold. Frosts in South Korea reached -13…-15° from time to time, and the monthly-averaged air temperatures in most of China, in Mongolia, in the south of Japan and in the Korean Peninsula were lower than normal, especially in the west of China where anomalies down to -2° were recorded. The weather noticeably warmer than usual was solely observed in the north of Japan where warm air from the Russian Primorye penetrated and the resulting anomalies of monthly-averaged temperatures were +1…2°. The weather in the south-east of China was relatively warmer, and in total, the average air temperatures of December in China were about normal.
In the countries of South-East Asia, these temperatures were also close to normal. But in India, December 2022 became the warmest in the history of meteorological observations: the monthly-averaged air temperature in some places was 1-2° higher than usual. The picture in neighbouring Pakistan was similar.
In the Near and Middle East, the air temperatures were above-normal still, and their monthly-averaged anomalies reached or exceeded +2° in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, extremely cold air also intruded there occasionally: for example, the air temperature in Israel dropped to 0° at the end of the month, which is a very rare event in this region.
Severe frosts fettered Central Asia at the beginning of the month. The thermometer readings in the Turkmenistan deserts sometimes decreased to -20°, similar colds never seen since the middle of the last century hit the north of Uzbekistan to beat the previous records of minimum temperature, and even colder temperatures down to -30° were measured in Kazakhstan. As a result, the monthly-averaged air temperature in December was 2-4 or more degrees lower than normal over a vast area.
In North Africa, this December was very warm: its monthly-averaged temperature was the highest in history and exceeded the normal value by 2-4° in the north of the continent. Arctic invasion spreading as far as the eastern coast of North Africa and dropping the temperature down to +15° at the beginning of the month could not also be avoided. Such weather was exceptionally cold for these locations where temperatures of up to +30° were normally recorded at this time of year, and no comparable colds had been observed for more than fifty years.
In Central Europe, the monthly-averaged temperatures in December were quite evenly distributed close to their normal values. But the situation in the north and south of the continent was different: relatively cold weather with low but still negative anomalies prevailed in the north, whereas the weather warmer than usual was observed in the south. The monthly-averaged temperature in the Iberian Peninsula, in the south of France, in Italy, in the Balkans and in Greece was 1-2 or more degrees higher than normal. In the last days of the month, warm weather fairly unexpected in this time of year came to Portugal and gave rise to daily temperature maxima recorded on several successive days. And on the last day of the year, the same happened in Belarus.
In the US and Canada, this December was cold. In the third decade, Arctic air moved far south in the west of these countries. In Canada, a new minimum temperature for December was set to -53.4° in the province of Yukon, and the thermometer readings kept decreasing until finally settled at -47-48° in the neighbouring provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Such frosts in Canada were last observed forty years ago. The temperatures in the western United States would drop to -30…-40° and below. As a result, the weather in the west of the US and Canada turned out to be noticeably colder than usual, namely, by 2-4 or more degrees colder. On the contrary, the weather in the east of these countries was generally warmer than usual, in spite of Arctic colds that reached there from time to time and partially froze the Niagara Falls. The anomalies in the east of Canada amounted to +2-6 and more degrees.
Abnormally warm weather persevered in the Arctic. The anomaly averaged over this region in December was 3.5°, and was in excess of 6° in some places.
Regarding the Northern Hemisphere as a whole, the monthly-averaged temperature of December was at the eighth highest one in the ranking list compiled since 1891, and the temperature averaged for the whole year 2022, at the third to sixth position in the list. The average annual temperature in the Hemisphere was above-normal almost everywhere with the exception of India on the land; of oceanic water bodies at the equatorial latitudes in the east of the Pacific Ocean where La Niña remained active for the third year already; and of small enclaves in the tropical zone.
Highest positive anomalies of the averaged annual air temperature amounted to +2…5 or more degrees in the north and east of Russia, to +2…3 or more degrees in the Arctic region of Canada and in Europe, and to 2 or more degrees from Arabia to China on the Asian continent. This year was the second warmest in the history of Europe. It was also the second warmest as reported by the meteorological services of Great Britain and France basing on the meteorological history of their countries, and was ranked the third warmest in Austria. All the monthly-averaged temperatures during this year were above-normal, and the anomalies of average annual temperatures on the continent reached +2…3°.
In Moscow, the monthly-averaged temperature in December was -4.1° corresponding to the anomaly of +2.0°. The past year 2022 was the seventh warmest in the meteorological annals of the capital, yielding significantly more than 1° to the record-breaking year 2020.
Sea Surface Temperature
This month, La Niña in the Pacific Ocean persisted, and was rated the second most powerful in the history of observations. Calculations showed that it would last at least until the end of winter, and probably until the end of spring as well. Regarding this phenomenon, some signs of its weakening were already apparent. For example, the zone of negative anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere, which extended to the coast of Chile before, was now retracted to about 15S, i.e., much farther to the north.
In addition to the equatorial zone, negative SST anomalies in the Pacific Ocean were also observed along the coasts of the US and Canada, partly in the Sea of Okhotsk, and in a number of small-sized water bodies. Considering positive anomalies, their area was much larger. The highest of them were formed at the temperate latitudes over the whole span from Asia to America; there, they exceeded +2…3° or more. High positive anomalies were also observed in the South China Sea, nearby the Philippines, and to the east of the latter islands.
In the Atlantic Ocean, almost no negative SST anomalies were observed. High positive ones (+1…3° and more degrees) were measured off the west coast of North Africa, in the Caribbean Sea and in the Gulf of Mexico, along the cost of the US and east of it, as well as in the Mediterranean, Norwegian and Greenland Seas.
The average annual SST anomalies in the World Ocean were positive almost everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. The highest of them amounting to +1.0-1.5° took place in the areas extending far to the east from the US coast, in the Mediterranean Sea and on the border with the Arctic Ocean.
In Russia, December 2022 was rich in precipitation: many stations reported new maxima of daily precipitation totals. Record-breaking snowfalls hit the Krasnoyarsk Territory at the beginning of the first decade, came to the Upper Volga region (the Republics of Mari El, Mordovia, Udmurtia and Tatarstan, the Nizhniy Novgorod Region and the Perm Territory) at the end of it, and to Central Russia at the beginning of the second decade. In fact, the 2nd decade was abundant with snowfalls everywhere from Saint-Petersburg to Siberia. At the same time, heavy rains (up to 30 mm per day) flooded the Crimea.
As a result, the monthly precipitation totals in the ETR were usually normal or higher than that in the North-West, Central and Volga Federal Districts, and much larger than normal, meaning 2.0-2.5 times the normal values, in the Kostroma, Ivanovo, Vladimir, Kaluga, Tula, Orel, Smolensk, Bryansk and Kursk Regions, and in the Republic of Mari El. The southern regions of the ETR were the only ones to receive less atmospheric moisture than they deserved.
The precipitation totals in the Urals and in most of Siberia were close to normal, with the exception of the Novosibirsk Region and Altai Territory in the south where the normal values were exceeded. In the Far East, the precipitation was also normal, or increased: by more than 1.5 times in the Magadan Region, in the Kamchatka and Primorye Territories and in the Jewish Autonomous Region, and by more than two times in Buryatia.
The weather in China, on the Korean Peninsula and in the south of Japan was basically dry for most of the month, with the precipitation figures noticeably lower than normal. In South Korea, heavy snowfalls accompanied with a sharp temperature drop were observed in the middle of the month when the height of freshly fallen snow reached 50-70 cm.
As for the countries of South-East Asia, the phrase "somewhere plenty and somewhere empty" fits. Torrential rains poured in the Philippines, in Malaysia and in Thailand, led to massive floods that drove waves up to 1.5 m high along the streets of the cities, and resulted in human deaths. But at the same time, the weather was dry in Cambodia, Laos and most of Vietnam, except for the coast.
In the countries of South Asia, the weather remained dry. Roughly the same can be said about most of the Near and Middle East, although very heavy rains pelted there in some places. For example, in the southern Turkish province of Antalya, they caused the largest flood in the last fifty years, and in Jordan, they inundated Petra, the centre of tourist attraction. Snowfalls took place in Israel. In certain locations of Oman, up to 60 mm of rainwater accumulated in a pair of days to exceed the normal monthly amount by four times.
Dryness dominated Central Asia and most of North Africa. The quantities of rainwater were sufficient in the south of the continent only.
Europe received a lot of precipitation. Heavy rains in the south of Italy brought 100-120 mm of daily rainwater and caused massive floods. Similar picture was observed in Spain and Portugal where up to 60-90 mm of atmospheric moisture accumulated in a few hours sometimes; in particular, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, was deluged. In addition to rains, snowfalls covered the European countries. The latter was not surprising in December for Scotland, Latvia and Lithuania in the north, but was extraordinary for the south of France where the snow cover reached 20 cm in some places. The monthly precipitation totals were normal in most of the continent, but were 1.5-3.0 times greater than the normal value in Spain and Portugal, in some places in Italy and in the east of the continent.
Precipitation was also abundant in the US and Canada, primarily, in the last decade of the month. Sleets with freezing rain hit a vast area from Texas to Quebec and killed dozens of people. New maxima of daily precipitation totals were reported. At the end of the year, heavy rains and snowfalls along with stormy winds attacked California and were collectively named "Stormageddon" by the residents of this state. The precipitation totals in most of the two countries were normal or increased, and in some places, they exceeded the normal figures by 2-4 times in California, Oregon, North and South Dakotas, Nebraska and Wyoming. At the same time, the weather was dry in some territories including the west of Canada and the south-east of the USA. Dry weather was also observed in northern Mexico.
The annual precipitation totals were above-normal in a number of Russian regions (southern Siberia, Yakutia, Far East), in the east of China, south of Sweden and south of Alaska, and in individual eastern states of the US. On the contrary, these totals were subnormal in the central and western provinces of China, in most of the Near and Middle East, in North Africa, Europe and Canada, and in the western states of the USA.
Moscow received a huge quantity of precipitation in December: it amounted to 131 mm and thus exceeded the normal value by 2.3 times. Given this total figure, December 2022 in the capital became the wettest in the meteorological chronicle since 1891. The annual precipitation total was 733 mm; this is close to the normal value.