Climate change impacts in the Russian Federation

Climate change impacts in the Russian Federation - what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:
  • Observed climate trends of 2-3°C temperature rise in past 90 years, more pronounced in spring and winter [10.2.2].
  • Observed changes in extreme events and severe climate anomalies:
    • Heat waves broke past 22-year record in May 2005 [10.2.3].
    • Increase in heavy rains in western Russia and decrease in Siberia; Increase in number of days with more than 10mm rain; 50 to 70% increase in surface runoff in Siberia [10.2.3].
  • Annual increase of 5% of river flow, winter increase of 25-90% increase in winter base flow due to increased melt and thawing permafrost. 1935-1999 Arctic Drainage Basin: Ob, Lena, Yenisey [].
  • Russian Arctic rivers: Increasing catastrophic floods of frequency (0.5 to 1%) in the last years due to earlier breakup of river-ice and heavy rain []
  • A recent major ecosystem shift in the northern Bering Sea has been attributed to regional climate warming and trends in the Arctic Oscillation []
  • Increasing winter temperature considerably changes the ice regime of water bodies in the northern regions. Comparing the horizon of 2010-2015 with the control period 1950-1979 show that ice cover duration on the rivers in Siberia would be shorter by 15-27 days and maximum ice cover would be thinner by 20-40% [3.4].
  • In several northern hemisphere mountain systems, treelines have markedly shifted to higher elevations during the 20th century such as in the Urals [].
  • Arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems (particularly ombrotrophic bog communities; a form of wetland) above permafrost were considered likely to be most vulnerable to climatic changes, since impacts may turn arctic regions from a net carbon sink to a net source [4.4.6].
  • Current estimates of northern wetland methane emissions increase by 10–63% based on Northern Siberian estimates alone. This methane source comprises a positive feedback to climate change, as thaw lakes and mires are expanding in response to warming [4.4.6].
  • Dramatic increase of fires in Siberian peatlands (of which 20 million ha were burnt in 2003) linked to increased human activities combined with changing climate conditions, particularly increase in temperature [].
  • Polar bears will face a high risk of extinction with warming of 2.8°C above pre-industrial [Box 4.3].
	© WWF / François Pierrel
The creation of a "bear group" by local villagers in Russia's Far East will ward off any potential polar bears that come too close to town.
© WWF / François Pierrel

WWF work

What WWF is doing on the ground in the Russian Federation to protect against climate change:

Key contacts

  • Alexey Kokorin

    Climate Change Programme Coordinator

    WWF Russia,
    Moscow Main

    +7 495 727 09 39

Climate Witnesses

WWF runs the Climate Witness programme to collect people's local observations of climate change that are then verified by scientists.
Vladilen Ivanovich Kavry lives at the far eastern edge of Russia on the coast of the Chukchi Sea, surrounded by Arctic wildlife such as walrus and polar bears. He talks about climate changes he has observed over the last few years.
Observations of Climate Change Made by Indigenous Inhabitants of the Coastal Regions of Chukotka, report by WWF Russia [pdf, 323 KB]

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions