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Climate change ‘partly to blame’ for sweltering Moscow
Moscow, Aug 10 (Agencies):
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Published on 10 Aug. 2010 11:43 PM IST
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Global climate change is partly to blame for the abnormally hot and dry weather in Moscow, cloaked in a haze of smoke from wildfires, say researchers.
The UK Met Office said there are likely to be more extreme high temperatures in the future. Experts from the environmental group WWF Russia have also linked climate change and hot weather to raging wildfires around the Russian capital. Meteorologists say severe conditions may linger for several more days.
The Moscow health department said earlier that the number of people dying daily in the city had reached about 700 - twice the usual number. Jeff Knight, a climate variability scientist at the UK Met Office, attributed the situation in Moscow to a number of factors, among them greenhouse gas concentrations, which are steadily rising.
The recent El Nino, a climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean and affects weather around the world, and local weather patterns in Russia may have also contributed to this summer’s abnormal conditions. “The Russian heatwave is related to a persistent pattern of circulation drawing air from the south and east (the very warm steppes),” said Dr Knight.
“Circulation anomalies tend to create warm and cool anomalies: while it has been very hot in western Russia, it has been cooler than average in adjacent parts of Siberia that lie on the other side of the high pressure system where Arctic air is being drawn southwards. “Some long-term records have been broken - for example the highest daily temperature in Moscow. We expect more extreme high temperatures as the climate changes. This means that when weather fluctuations promote high temperatures… there is more likelihood of records being broken.”
Levels of air pollutants have exceeded the norm The head of the climate and energy programme at WWF Russia, Alexei Kokorin, said the abnormal temperatures soaring to up to 40C increased the likelihood of wildfires around the capital.

 
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