Cold Outbreak

Siberian cold hits southeastern Europe

A blast of cold air from Siberia put much of southeastern Europe in a deep freeze early in the new year, shutting down shipping on the frozen Danube and leaving more than 65 dead. Many of those killed in the cold snap were refugees unable to find adequate shelter from the snow and bitterly-cold temperatures. In some areas of southeastern Europe the thermometer registered well below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Researchers with WWA-partner KNMI conducted a rapid analysis to see how the cold wave from January 7 – 11 compared historically with others in the region. They found that the cold outbreak was uncommon, but not unprecedented, occurring on average about every 35 years. And the temperature of these cold outbursts has actually increased since 1950 with the influence of climate change.

Before global warming, an extreme cold snap like this one in southeastern Europe would have been even colder.

Read the complete analysis, along with other WWA studies, in the Analyses section.

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Photo: REUTERS