Russian weather may damage winter wheat

Winter arrives with a vengeance

Temperatures during the winter of 2018-2019 will go down as a complete contradiction between the first and second half of the season. The first half of winter was quite mild across most of the country from December through the middle of January.

This changed abruptly in the second half of January when temperatures dropped significantly below normal, especially in the Prairies. Record lows were set on several days during the first half of February.

The Prairies were not the only region in Canada to feel the impact of the cold temperatures. Snowfall and winter storms from Victoria to St. John's has brought winter weather to every corner of the country.

Where did the warm temperatures go?

The most obvious answer to this question is the common vacations spots in the Caribbean or Central America. Although that is true, one of the more interesting facts is that the winter weather in Siberia has been quite mild.

While most of the Prairies were reporting overnight lows in the -20C to -35C, stations in Siberia have been positively mild with daily high temperatures near the freezing mark.

The reason for the warm temperatures in Siberia is also related to the fluctuations in the polar vortex. The increased amplitude of the vortex means that not only do colder temperatures dive into some parts of the northern hemisphere during winter, but warm temperatures will also persist in some regions.

In the second half of the winter season, Siberia has been the winner in the mild winter sweepstakes.

Although Siberia produces very little in the way of winter wheat, the mild temperatures also stretch into western Russia. The warm temperatures do cause some concerns in the western growing areas as the winter cereal crops are starting to lose their winter hardiness. A sudden cold snap could result in significant damage to the winter wheat crop.

While the cold conditions in North America are likely to persist into the end of February, a possible vacation location is Novosibirsk in Siberia. Temperatures are expected to remain mild for the next 10 days with high temperatures near the freezing mark.

The global weather pattern pushed colder than normal temperatures into Canada over the past month. Surprisingly, Siberia is one of the locations reporting mild temperatures over the past six weeks. Tweet this

Bottom line

Most of Canada is shivering through winter, but temperatures in Russia hover around freezing. A sudden cold snap could significantly damage their winter wheat.


Bruce Burnett is the director of markets and weather at Glacier Farm Media. Bruce can be reached at bburnett@farmmedia.com or via the website at MarketsFarm.com.