Scattered flurries teased Moscow on Tuesday afternoon with the promise of a real winter, the birthright of a city whose people take pride in trudging through snow and in ice fishing and cross-country skiing in white countryside beyond the outer beltway.
The winter of 2006 has yet to arrive, however, and Muscovites are deeply discombobulated. "I want snow. I want the New Year's feeling," said Viktoria Makhovskaya, a street vendor who sells gloves and mittens. "This is a disgusting winter. I don't like it at all."
Moscow is not alone in the unexpected warmth -- it stretches across the continent.
Preliminary data from the Met Office, Britain's national weather service, and the University of East Anglia indicate that 2006 has been the warmest year in Britain since record-keeping concerning weather conditions began in central England in 1659.
Trees are sprouting leaves in Switzerland. And low-altitude ski resorts across the Alps look more like springtime meadows. "We are currently experiencing the warmest period in the Alpine region in 1,300 years," Reinhard Boehm, a climatologist at Austria's Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, told the Associated Press in Vienna.
Boehm was one of the authors of a European Union-funded climate study that found similar warming periods in the 10th and 12th centuries. But, he said, it's warmer now, and "it will undoubtedly get warmer in the future."
The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns in a report this month "that climate change poses serious risks to the snow reliability of Alpine ski areas, and consequently to the regional economies that depend upon winter tourism."
Up to 80 million people visit Alpine resorts each year, and they are a key contributor to the local economies, the report says.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Europe wonders where the snow is
Well in Missouri we're having our 4th straight year of no winter. Instead we're having an extended fall that turns into spring. Snow has become a rare event and has been replaced by winter rain and flower blossoms. According to Peter Finn of the Washington Post Europe is also looking for snow: