Plunging temperatures in Moscow have prompted a run on cold weather gear, despite previous predictions that, given the impact of global warming, Russia’s coldest days were behind it.
The TASS news network reported on Friday that figures from one of Russia’s largest financial data firms showed sales of fur coats, hats and other products were up by 20 percent in January, compared to the same period last year. Experts from Platforms OFD, which collected the data, say outerwear had become a particularly popular purchase in Moscow during the second and third weeks of January.
The Russian capital saw a particularly frosty cold snap over the period, with heavy snow in volumes not seen for some years. Other regions of the country have also been battered by abnormally cold weather, with authorities in Siberia issuing warnings in December as forecasts predicted temperatures would plunge as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit).
Some commentators had previously argued that Russia was gradually thawing as a result of global warming. In November, the New Statesman ran an article crying ‘Moscow’s snowless winters’ as a worrying sign for the world. Only a few weeks later, the city would see an abnormally heavy flurry. However, the mismatch between predictions and reality potentially highlights an even more concerning phenomenon – climate volatility.
As well as blisteringly cold winters, remote Russian regions such as those above the Arctic Circle have also seen abnormally high temperatures. Earlier this year, in the height of summer, record heat was registered in the small town of Verkhoyansk, at 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit).
Earlier last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to order the government to take immediate action on climate change. As the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, Russia will now work toward meeting the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
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