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Weather anomalies: mushrooms growing, Russian bears cannot sleep
December 20, 2006 14:48

Russia is known for many things, and cold winters are one of them. Russian winter temperatures often drop lower than -10-15C, but this year is breaking all records in weather anomalies.

Mushrooms, which appeared in the forests of Central Russia because of the anomalously warm temperature untypical for Russian winters, are eatable, according to representatives of the veterinary committee of Moscow. Specialists know about the facts of mushrooms emerging in Russian forests, but they claim there is no evidence to think that the quantity of harmful or dangerous substances in these mushrooms exceeds the norm. Mushrooms which have grown as a result of anomalous weather cannot be dangerous for human health on their own. At the same time, experts from the veterinary committee remind that it is not advised to gather mushrooms within the city boundary and places located close to highways, as car fumes may cause mutations in mushrooms and thus make them poisonous.

The uncommonly warm winter in Russia once again confirms the ongoing changes on the planet. Despite mid of December, the stems of thermometers keep on showing the above-zero temperature. While mushroom-hunters are feeling fortunate, agricultural workers and scientists worry about winter crops. At the moment the weather acts not on behalf of agriculture: there is no snow in the fields, the soil is thawed, like in autumn, which is highly unfavourable for plants. Nature has re-echoed to the record warming very swiftly. The first snow melted away, green grass started to appear on the ground, in some places there are buds swelling. Some gardeners have even noticed strawberry and blackberry bushes` awakening.

Russian history remembers several winters with surprisingly warm weather. In 1290 the acts of nature made the trees go green in January. Interestingly, similar case occurred all across Russia. Chroniclers from Novgorod reported that in 1304 buds were swelling on the trees in winter. The first half of winter in 1898 can be considered an analogue of the winter of 2006. At that time Moscow faced the incredibly warm weather too: temperature records were registered during 5 days, though later winter hit the citizens with severe frosts reaching the point of -27C. However, this winters warmth is record in the aspects of both duration and intension of high temperatures.

Mushrooms and plants growth in December is not the only side effect of the anomalous weather in Russia. High temperatures also do not let bears fall into winter sleep (like in the Kemerovo and Tomsk Regions, for instance). These animals usually already sleep in mid November, but this year bear lairs are flooded by rains, so that animals have to search for other places for winter rest. Hares are also suffering of the warming: their fur colour has already changed from grey to white, which in the absence of snow makes them easy victims for predators.

Because of the active Atlantic this year promises to be one of the warmest during the whole history of meteorological observation not only in Russia, but in the entire world. However, this week weather forecasters expect first frosts in Russia with the temperature from OC to -5C.


Lavrentyeva Natalya


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