Weather and climate

From day to day, the weather changes at the same point on the planet. It changes continuously, there is no exactly the same state of it. Sometimes the weather changes so quickly that people do not have time to respond to its changes.

If you don't like the weather in New England (region in the northeastern United States) now, just wait a few minutes.

Mark Twain, 19-th century American writer
This observation is true to the weather of the Leningrad region of Russia, and the City of Savonlinna in Finland located in the zone of temperate continental climate. It is characterized by frequent and severe weather changes due to cyclones, westerly winds and precipitation throughout the year.
1 mm of precipitation is equal to1 litre(1 kg) of water per 1 square metre of the surface.
A light breeze of 2-3 m/s raises waves up to 0,6m and in strong breeze of 10-12 m/s, the maximum wave height is up to 4 m.
One of the sunniest places on Earth is the Dead Sea. There are about 330 sunny days a year! Weather forecasters do not worry much with forecasts. But vacationers are worried.
The Severnaya Zemlya archipelago has the least sunshine duration - only 12 days a year.
The hottest place on Earth is Death Valley in the United States, whereall-time recordair temperature of + 56.7°C was recorded on July 13, 1913.
The coldest place on Earth is the Eastern Plain of Antarctica. A record low air temperature of -89.2°C was recorded on the territory of the Russian scientific station Vostok in Antarctica on July 21, 1983.
Russia is the coldest country in the world, its average annual temperature is −5°C.
In addition to Russia, Canada, Kazakhstan, the USA, Denmark, Mongolia, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Estonia are among the ten coldest countries in the world.
Do you know?

According to statistics, if the weather had not changed, then nine out of ten people would never have started a conversation with each other.

But here is what wise Scots say about this: "There is no bad weather, there are bad clothes!"

Despite the rapidly changing weather, we can describe its main features from year to year, from season to season: for example, winter is cold, summer is hot, autumn is rainy. Simply put, there are the main features of the weather. These main features are the climate.

Climate is a long-term weather regime, as formulated by the World Meteorological Organization - for 30 years.

The local climate depends on the geographical location of the area.


Which of these facts do you think can be considered as indicators of the global climate change

Answer: Deviation of weather from the climatic norm cannot be considered as climate change. For example, abnormally hot summers do not indicate a warming climate. Global climate change is a long-term (decade-long) change (sustained growth or decline) in the average annual temperature and frequency of extreme weather events.

Climate Change -
Natural Process


We have all hear about the current global climate change. In your opinion, how has the average annual temperature on Earth changed over the past million years?

Answer: Temperature decreases periodically and rises. The Earth has experienced many global warming and cooling.
Do you know?
million years ago
The last 500 million years on Earth have been much warmer than now.
million years ago
About 50 million years ago, India Plate collided with Eurasian Plate, and Antarctica drifted towards the South Pole.
million years ago
Antarctica was covered with ice.
million years ago
Greenland became covered by ice.
As a result of these changes, the temperature on Earth has dropped to modern levels.

Approximately every 100 thousand years there was a short warming, followed by a long cooling. This had significant consequences for the climate and all living things.

Around 67 million years ago dramatic abrupt decrease of global temperature havs led to the dinosaurs extinction.

Periods of extensive terrestrial glaciation
Periods of milder glaciation (most of the time between 500-100 million years ago Antarctica was not glaciated)
Mass extinction of organisms-bio-catastrophes, aprroximately 370 and 240 million years ago
Global average temperature over the last 500 million years
(L. Koenig, NASA)

Since the end of the Last Ice Age 12,000 years ago, the climate has been relatively stable. However, the largest global temperature drop by almost one degreearound 3100 BCgave rise to organized civilization, beginning of Bronze Age and agriculture in Egypt and Mesopotamia. What is a temperature drop of one degree when it comes to the average annual temperature across the hemisphere? When the average temperature on the planet falls by a degree, this is a signal that regional and seasonal (winter, summer) decreases can reach 7-8 and even 10 degrees, and precipitation fluctuations are up to 300 mm per year. What is 300 mm per year? For regions with a dry climate, this is 200% of the nominal value. In other words, a one-degree drop in temperature causes such dramatic climate changes "on the ground" that simply cannot but affect human life.

Average northern hemispheric temperature fluctuations for the last 11,000 years
(Dansguard et al., 1968; Schönwiese, 1995; Keigwin, 1996)

Over the past 2000 years, several alternating cooling and warming periods are clearly distinguished. Read the characteristics of the Earth's climatic periods and select the most relevant characteristic of each of these periods.

Roman Climatic Optima
Climatic pessimum of the early Middle Ages
Medieval climatic optimum
Little Ice Age
The stage of by mild winters, relatively warm and stable weather.
This period is the coldest over the last 2 thousand years. In Europe, the annual average temperature dropped sharply. For Western and Central Europe, snowy winters, unseasonal snowstorms, long rains and droughts have become common.
The average natural temperature was 1-1.5 degrees lower than the current one. In general, the climate has become more humid, and winter - colder.
Covers the time since the beginning of Octavian's reign. It was time of the maximum expansion of the Roman Empire.
Historical fact

Purely ecological murder

In the early 1990s, the first meteorological studies of ancient Central America were collected, indicating that the Mayan Civilization was doomed to death due to significant climate change that occurred in the period 950-1250. This era of warm climate in the northern hemisphere is known as the Medieval warm period or the Medieval climate optimum. In the 9th century, severe drought came to the Mayan lands. And the 11th century brought the worst drought in two thousand years - "mega-drought." The first wave of drought destroyed Mayan settlements in the south and the second brought death to their northern territories. After this second wave of droughts, Mayan civilization was no longer destined to recover.

Critical (that is, significant) factors of Earth's climate change and examples of their manifestation:

Changes in Earth's orbit
Periodic increase and decrease in the area of ​ ​ the Sahara desert
11-year cycle of solar activity
Little Ice Age
volcanic eruptions
Little Ice Age
greenhouse effect
Post-industrial warming

Studying the Little Ice Age, we see that while cooling occurred in Europe and some other regions, in other parts of the world, like Central America, on the contrary, an increase in temperature was recorded. The most important fact is that various parts of the world have experienced different climatic changes at the same time.

Temperature Anomaly,°C
Reconstructed surface temperature pattern for LIA (1400-1700 C.E.). Anomalies are defined relative to the 1961-1990 reference period mean. Gray mask indicates regions for which inadequate long-term modern observational surface temperature data are available
(Mann et al., 2009)

Now let's look at a map of the Current temperature changes on Earth. Warming occurs everywhere, with the exception of one small area in the Atlantic.

Observed change in Earth's surface temperature in 1901-2012 (IPCC AR5, 2014).

Greenhouse effect

Often, the greenhouse effect is indicated as the major cause of warming. About 70% of solar radiation is absorbed either by the Earth's atmosphere or its surface, while about 30% is reflected back into space without heating the planet.

The Earth-atmosphere system is constantly trying to maintain a balance between the energy that reaches Earth from the sun and the energy that flows from Earth back out to space. If the Earth system is changed either through natural phenomena — such as volcanoes — or man’s activities and an imbalance in the Earth’s energy budget occurs, the Earth’s temperature will eventually increase or decrease in order to restore an energy balance.

What makes up the Earth's "energy budget"?

Earth energy budget, including greenhouse effect (R. Simmon, 2020; Trenberth et al., 2009; Loeb et al., 2009)
What is the effect of greenhouse gases on the Earth-atmosphere system?

The greenhouse effect on Earth increases because solar radiation reflected from the Earth's surface is trapped by the atmosphere. Which of the gases emitted to the atmosphere make the largest contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth?

Answer: Steam (72%), Carbon dioxide (17%), Methane (6%), Ozone (5%).

Water vapour in the atmosphere raises the Earth’s surface average temperature by more than 30 °C. If it were not for water vapour, the average temperature on the Earth's surface would be − 18 °C, that is rivers and oceans would always be frozen and plants would not grow anywhere. Due to the natural greenhouse effect the average temperature on Earth reaches +15°C. Carbon dioxide gives this value an increase of several more degrees. Methane also provides a large specific contribution to the greenhouse effect, but due to the low content of methane in the atmosphere, its overall influence is still relatively small. Among all the gases listed, ozone makes the most insignificant contribution to the greenhouse effect.

Historical fact
Purely ecological murder

Studies confirm that the Maya has changed tropical forest ecosystems. The growing demand for food forced the Maya to expand the area of their farmland by deforestation. Burning the forests and maintenance of these fields could have caused excessive release of carbon dioxide and methane, which have changed local climate. The higher temperature and less rainfall caused drought and soil erosion, led to the food shortage and demise of the Maya.

Man boosted
Greenhouse effect by 5%

Some greenhouse gases result from natural processes: when people and animals breathe and volcanoes erupt, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the air. Methane is emitted by swamps, lakes and oceans, ruminants, and even insects.

Climate change can be caused by increased solar activity or falling meteorites. Over the past 2.5 thousand years, volcanic eruptions have been the main cause of the growth and sharp temperature drops. However, none of these factors explains the warming observed in the last 50 years.

What science has learned about climate change on our planet over the past half million years, thanks to ice cores obtained by scientists in Antarctica and Greenland.

Correlations of the main climate characteristics based on ice cores (J. Hansen and M. Sato, 2011; Petit et al., 1999)

— temperature

The top red graph is the temperature curve. Form geologic perspective, we are living in a warm period called the Holocene (modern interglacial), which is at zero on the horizontal axis. About 20,000 years ago, Antarctica experienced peak of the previous cold stage, when the temperature was about 10 degrees lower than now. And previous interglacial period was 120,000 years ago, etc. These repeating cold-warm cycles (glacial-interglacial), last for about 100,000 years each, with shorter warm and longer cold stages.

— concentration of dust in the atmosphere

The yellow graph at the top shows the concentration of dust in the atmosphere, which in cold periods was 20-30 times higher than now. This means that the climate was drier, and air circulation was more intense. In addition, the surface area of the continents was larger than now, because the sea level was 120 meters lower. At the same time, a lot of water was stored on the continents in ice sheets.

— greenhouse gases

Green graphs describe the concentration of greenhouse gases: the upper for CO2, and the lower for methane. The data obtained form the ice cores demonstrates close correlation between temperature dynamics and CO2 concentration. Does this mean that greenhouse gases were originally responsible for climate change? Probably not! The initial shift was caused by fluctuations in solar insolation (Milankovich cycles). And then a small, actually very weak initial push somehowwas amplified by climate system, in the oceans and in the ice cover. Then greenhouse gases became the main engine for increasing temperature.

Now we are confident that the current concentration of CO2 is abnormal.Does it havenatural or anthropogenicorigin? To find it out, we need to first look at the carbon cycle of our planet.

Atoms of the same substance can contain a different number of certain particles - neutrons. By their number, it is possible to determine the origin ofatmospheric carbon dioxide –whethe it is relased by living organisms or from burning coal, oil and natural gas.

Kokorin A.O., Smirnova E.V., Zamolodchikov D.G. Changing of the climate. A book for high school teachers. Moscow: WWF, 2013 .-- 220 p.

Before human activity began to seriously affect atmosphere composition, the amount of atmospheric carbon was about 600 billion tons (600 gigatons, Gt). Every year, plants consumed about 120 Gt of carbon. So all the trees on Earth could use all the atmospheric carbon in just five to six years. But this never happened, because plants also release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere through respiration and decomposition after death. Also, CO2 easily dissolves in water and enters the ocean, where it exists in the form of dissolved organic and inorganic carbon. There it is consumed by the marine microbiota and plants. But the ocean also emits carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. All this carbon exchange has been balanced in the past. A lot of carbon is stored in fossil fuels - several thousand billion tons. And a huge amount of carbon dioxide is stored in permafrost. Finally, we have volcanoes that emit CO2, although in a relatively small volume, only about 0.1 Gt per year.

Then humans entered the stage and began extracting coal, oil and gas and use these organic fossils as fuel for energy and heat. With the advent of the era of advanced industrialization, about 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide is emitted annually – which is a hundred times more than all volcanoes on our planet!

million years
Over the past 23 million years, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has decreased linearly at a rate of 5 ppm per million years.
thousand years
During the last 800 thousand years before the industrial revolution, the content of CO2 in the atmosphere never exceeded 300 ppm.
years ago
200 years ago, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere began to grow at a rate of 5 ppm per decade.
million years
The carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere in 2020 even broke the record over the past 23 million years - 411 ppm.
billion tons
Global CO2 emissions rose from 2 billion tons in 1900 to more than 36 billion tons in 2015.

Carbon footprint is an individual's contribution to CO2 emissions. The below mentioned emission reduction steps are considered by environmentalists to be the most effective. Arrange them in order to reduce the performance rating.

Stick to a plant-based diet
Use green energy sources
Give up your personal car
Reduce the number of long-distance flights
Answer:Consider the following data. The enormous volume of solid waste in the household is generated by small children. About 5-6 thousand diapers are spent on 1 baby before it becomes potty-trained, which corresponds to 1.5 tons of garbage, which is very poorly processed. Do not refuse them - just speed up the process of accustoming the baby to the pot. You can reduce your annual individual carbon footprint by 2.4 tons of CO2 equivalent living car-free. Using green energy allows reducing individual emissions by 1.8 tons of CO2 equivalent per year. Each avoided transatlantic flight saves 1.6 tons of CO2 equivalent. And the plant-based diet saves 0.8 tons of CO2 equivalent every year.
Emission savings (tCO2e per year
(S. Wynes and K. A Nicholas, 2017)
Tree absorbs
120 kg CO2
per year

Within one year, an ordinary tree releases the amount of oxygen sufficient for a family of 3 people.

On average, one mature tree absorbs 120 kg of CO2 per year and releases about 120 kg of oxygen.

One car absorbs the same amount of oxygen (120 kg) when burning 1 tank of gasoline (about 50 litres).

The main source of greenhouse gas emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas. In the distant past, when the Earth was ten degrees warmer, plants thrived. They absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere, died, decayed and after millions of years have been converted to coal, oil and gas. And now man, burning fossil fuels, returns CO2 to the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate. The main sinks and processors of carbon dioxide on earth are the seas and forests.The loss of forests accumulating CO2 and wetlands, which after clearing and drainage release stored carbon dioxide, leads to increase in the greenhouse effect.


In what climatic zone do you think most of the Earth's forests grow?

Answer: Tropical (45%), boreal (27%), temperate (16%), subtropical (11%).
Do you know?

«Forest» statistics

Humans have existed for less than 1% of the lifetime of forests
~400 million years
< 1%
Forests appeared
~400 million years ago
First Humans(Homo habilis)
appeared about 2 million years ago
Absorbing capacity of Boreal and Tropical forests is equal
Tropical forests
75% in plants
Boreal forests
50% in litter and soil
Boreal forests are the youngest on the planet
10 thousand years ago
5 thousand years ago
Boreal forests
10 thousand years ago
Boreal biodiversity
5 thousand years ago

Boreal forests are the northern forests of the Earth. It is the largest land biome on the planet, with an area of 15 million km². Residents of Eurasia call these forests "taiga". It is in the southern taiga subzone that the Leningrad Region and South-East Finland are located. Here the boreal vegetation is the most diverse. Coniferous trees are especially characteristic of taiga forests, and the main ones are spruce (Picea), pine (Pinus) and larch (Larix). Each of these species forms around itself a certain type of taiga - a unique environment suitable for the growth of a certain set of plants. The peculiarities of coniferous plants development are largely determined by the state of the environment not only of the current year, but also of the previous one. The increase in air temperature and humidity, as well as an increase in solar radiation in July of the previous year, noticeably accelerate the development of trees. The most common deciduous trees in the southern taiga are birch (Pendula), aspen (Populus tremula) and willow (Salix). Scientists have found that birch and poplar actively absorb CO2, grow rapidly, and can become the basis of forest carbon farms. Thanks to 15 hectares of birch massif, it will be possible to get rid of carbon dioxide produced by 2 thousand cars. So how will the area of the typical boreal flora of the southern taiga change with climate warming?

Picea abies
Norway spruce
Picea abies (Norway spruce) is a breed that forms the dark coniferous taiga, that is characterized by a moderately cold and at the same time quite humid climate. With the current warming, the air will become increasingly dry. In response, forest conifers can reduce the amount of moisture released by regulating the work of stomata through which plants exchange water, oxygen and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. It was also found that in the process of seasonal development, it is common spruce among other conifers that is most demanding on the temperature regime of the air. Thus, global warming threatens to reduce the occurrence of spruce in the southern taiga. From ancient times until now, spruce has been of great economic importance for the northern peoples of Europe, so preserving the range of this species is of paramount importance for us.
Betula pendula
Silver birch
Betula pendula (Silver birch) is a pioneer tree in taiga fires. Due to the increase in average annual temperatures, the growth of birches is currently increasing, and the trees are expanding their range themselves, moving into the mountain tundra. Comparing satellite images of the tundra and data from expeditions, scientists found that 15% of dwarf tundra trees, including birches, which are characterized by a height of about 1 m, have grown by an average of 2 m in height over the past 30-40 years!
Quercus robur
pedunculate oak
Quercus robur (pedunculate oak) is one of the key boreal species that characterize not only the evolution of the flora of Europe, but also the cultural evolution of society. Archaeological analysis made it possible to establish that the northern boundary of the oak tree distribution, which previously reached the northern tip of the Kola Peninsula, has noticeably shifted over the past 500 years, and it is now found only in the southern taiga subzone. However, the modern oak range is determined not only by climatic factors, but also by competition with other boreal tree species, especially with spruce. With a warming climate and a reduction in the area of spruce, the oak will be easier to take root, and the frequency of its occurrence in the European part of the southern taiga subzone will increase.
Acer platanoides
Norway maple
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) is located at the northern border of its natural range in the subzone of the southern taiga, to the north it freezes out. The value of maple for ecology is not limited to the amazing decoration of its foliage. It is a breed resistant to petrochemical pollution and is capable of acting as a phyto filter, cleaning the air from toxins. Therefore, Norway maple is well suited not only for landscaping cities, but also for creating sanitary-protective plantings of industrial enterprises. However, the proximity to conifers has a depressing effect on the Norway maple, but in the presence of broad-leaved species: oak, linden, maple grows well. After all, the roots of oak occupy the deepest layers of the soil, and the thicker roots of maple are located above. So this symbiosis is very promising for the further joint distribution of the range of these breeds.
Tilia cordata
small-leaved lime
Tilia cordata (small-leaved lime, small-leaved linden) is the most northern of the noble tree species of the dark coniferous taiga. In ancient times, linden was widespread in the forest, until a person took up an axe. Back in the Stone Age, linden was valued as a "bast tree" used in weaving various products. Due to the large-scale collection of bast, the small-leaved lime has completely disappeared in many areas. Nowadays, linden forms mainly artificial plantations. It feels good in the city, is resistant to diseases and pests, grows quickly, tolerates pruning and shaping of the crown well. Small-leaved lime is the most durable and frost-resistant. Planted along city highways, it lives up to 60-80 years, in parks and gardens - up to 100-150. Linden successfully coexists with spruce, pine, oak, aspen, birch, so it can go wild and will expand its presence in the wild of the southern taiga.

You can get more detailed information about boreal forests, their vegetation and role for the planet's climate by completing the «Climatic mysteries of the taiga» quest. You can complete the quest tasks both onsite and online.


In the process of photosynthesis, green plants produce carbohydrates necessary for plant’s growth and development. For photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide and water. Since the industrial revolution, the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere has been growing rapidly. How do you think it affected the trees?

Answer: Scientists have found that all the above mentioned factors are true. Until now, the increase in the atmospheric СО2 over the past century has led trees to "inhale" more carbon dioxide and "exhale" more water vapour. At the same time, deforestation and decrease in the species variety, including undergrowth, not only carbon absorption cease, but the carbon stored in plants is released to the atmosphere in the form of CO2 by decaying leaves, trunks and roots. In addition, the increase in summer temperatures and greenhouse gases concentrations over the last 100 years, have led to an increased water uptake in trees. So Siberian larch consumes 14% more water in Southern Siberia and 50% more in Finland and Sweden.

Global warming

The 11-year cycle of solar activity leads to a change in ground temperature by a maximum of ±0,1°C.
The average global temperature has increased by 1.1 °C from 1880.
Since 1975, the Earth has been heated at a rate of about 0.17 °C per decade.
In Russia, the temperature is growing two and a half times faster - by 0.47 °C per decade.
In the Arctic, growth rates reach 0,8°C per decade.
2020 was the warmest on record for the Northern Hemisphere.
Anomalies in the average annual air temperature in the Northern Hemisphere in 2020
GBU "Hydrometeorological Center of Russia"

Warming resulting in the melting of glaciers, causes freshwater to be added to the seawater. Even with a slight increase in temperature, the meltwater of Greenland ice sheet can cause noticeable desalination of the ocean surface water. This happens in high latitudes where warm water that came from the south, cools, sinks to the deep ocean and travels back. If the density of surface seawater decreases (and it happens when freshwater of the glaciers is added), it will not be able to sink and flow down south and thereby drive the so-called Great ocean conveyor belt. The Gulf Stream current, which is a part of this global water circulation pattern, carries warm waters and provides a mild climate for Europe.

Historical fact

End of the Last Ice Age

At the end of the Last Ice Age, about 14,500 years ago, global temperature began to rise. North American ice sheet was rapidly melting and enhancing continental runoff of fresh water to into the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas. It also caused accumulation of enormous amounts of fresh water in the inland proglacial Lake Agassiz. 12,800 years ago lake waters breaking the huge dam of remaining ice, draining the lake by as much as 100 metres, rushed through the Great Lakes region and the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Almost instant enormous release of fresh water decreased ocean salinity and density in the North Atlantic disrupting oceanic circulation and slowing Golf Stream, which probably caused temporary cooling in the Northern Hemisphere 12,700-11,600 years ago. At this period Lake Agassiz refilled and finally drained nearly completely around 10,000 years ago. This draining probably caused “8,200 year climate event” – sudden global temperature decrease that lasted for the next two to four centuries.


What are the most likely impacts of global warming on the climate of the Northern countries by the end of the 21st century?

Now, we are witnessing widespread warming, except for one small area in the North Atlantic, where there is a slight cooling. Due to ice melting caused by the global warming, the Gulf Stream is slowing down. But, according to the models and calculations of oceanologists, the water from the melted glaciers of Greenland is not enough to repeat the cooling similar to the Last Ice Age. In addition, climatologists argue that with CO2 concentration in the atmosphere exceeding 400 ppm, the next ice age will never come at all, because the greenhouse effect will be stronger than natural cooling factors. Now there is no physical reason for cooling, at least until the end of this century.
Do you know?
Arctic&Antarctic, 1901–2010:
World Ocean level +19 cm
Next 200 years:
World Ocean level may be +160 cm
Greenland, 2019:
90% of the surface of the ice sheet is experiencing some sort of melt summer
Iceland, August, 2019:
the Okjokul glacier disappeared
The polar bears will disappear in 20 years
That evaporates over Europe, will rain over Petersburg

Climate projections

Today, the world community is trying to stop global warming. Everyone's heard about the Paris climate agreement. What is it about? The 2015 Paris Agreement was concluded within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and provides for:

  • A long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, aiming to limit the increase to 1.5°C
  • By 2050-2100 balance the volume of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to levels that plants, soil and the oceans can process naturally.
  • Every five years countries review nationally determined emission targets, each target should go beyond previous targets, enhancing reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Developed countries should contribute to a special climate fund to help developing countries combat the effects of climate change (e.g., natural disasters or sea-level rise) and switch to renewable energy.
  • Scientists have developed 5 scenarios; sometimes they say "models" of climate projections depending on the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions. These scenarios are called Representative Concentration Trajectories (RCP). The scenario index describes the value of global anthropogenic impact achieved at 2100 g:

    RCPForcingTemperatureEmission Trend
    1.91.9 W/m2~1.5 °CVery Strongly Declining Emissions
    2.62.6 W/m2~2.0 °CStrongly Declining Emissions
    4.54.6 W/m2~2.4 °CSlowly Declining Emissions
    6.06.9 W/m2~3.8 °CStabilising Emissions
    8.58.5 W/m2~4.5 °CRising Emissions

    The UN Environment Programme estimates that even if countries meet the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, the world's temperature will rise by 3.2°C from pre-industrial levels. Despite the short-term decrease in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have not yet led to a slowdown in warming or to a decrease in the rate of growth in the concentration of these gases.

    Why? The CO2 molecule is stable, which makes the Earth-atmosphere system quite inert. As soon as we release a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, it remains there for decades, or even centuries. The atmospheric temperature of our planet is not yet in equilibrium with CO2, so even if we stop increasing carbon dioxide emissions, as we have been trying to do in recent years, the temperature will still rise as a reaction to the already existing CO2.

    What climate changes
    await us?

    Warming scenarios cannot predict the regional climatic patterns. However, based on weather statistics, hydrometeorologists using combination of different global climate models presented calculations of future climate changes in the 21st century.

    During the 21st century:

    The annual global rainfall will increase at a rate of 1-3% for each degree of warming.
    The most noticeable increase in ocean temperature is expected in the surface layer in the tropics and in the subtropical zone of the Northern Hemisphere.
    The level of the global sea level by the end of the 21st century will increase compared to the end of the 20th century by 0.26-0.82 m.

    Leningrad Region and Finland:

    How will the climate of the Leningrad region and Finland change? (In Russian)

    Long warm autumn
    A sharp cooling in winter
    Rare snowfalls
    Early Spring
    Frequent rains
    High probability of extreme weather events
    Do you know?

    If the pace of climate change continues, rather than decreases, then by 2050 the climate of Northern European cities will become similar to the recent climate of Southern Europe.

    The rate of climate change will be ~ 20 km per year.
    In 2050, the climate of the cities from the Northern hemisphere will resemble modern conditions of the places located ~ 1000 km further south:
    Weather in St. Petersburg will be like in Sofia, Bulgaria
    Weather in Helsinki will be as in Vienna, Austria
    The weather in Marienhamn will be like Budapest, Hungary

    The assessment of different climate models revealed the following climate change trends in the Leningrad Region by the end of the 21st century:

    • The variability in the daily precipitation in the winter season will increase, while the annual precipitation will decrease. The intensity of precipitation can increase by 0.25 mm per day, or by about 10%; the number of days with heavy precipitation will increase from 27% to 31%.
    • Annual minimum surface air temperature will increase by 4-6 °С. At the same time, it is expected that periods of extremely low winter temperatures will decrease by 6-8 days, and winter will be two or more weeks shorter.
    • Changes in the annual maximum temperature will not exceed 3 °C. Such changes will increase the likelihood of thaws in winter, reducing the period with stable snow cover.

    Based on these criteria, you yourself can forecast the positive and negative climate change impacts on the economy of the Leningrad Region\Finland, filling in the gaps in the phrases using the following words (drag the word into the phrase):

    Effects of climate warming in the Leningrad Region and Finland:

    two-fold increase
    two-fold reduction


    navigation along the Northern Sea Route
    Bathing season will be
    Agricultural productivity will
    of southern fruit trees like peaches and grapes will begin
    Private expenses on heating and clothing will
    Historical fact
    A perfect storm

    In 1274, Kubilai, the grandson of Genghis Khan, gathered a giant fleet and, having loaded the 37,000th army on it, went to conquer the Japanese islands. At first he was successful: captured several islands, defeating their defenders. However, the unexpected typhoon destroyed Kubilai’s fleet. The Mongol ruler never gave up the idea of conquering Japan. In the next seven years, he built an even more powerful fleet and in 1281 loaded a 100,000-strong army on it. But the story repeated with frightening accuracy - the sudden typhoon again destroyed most of the Mongolian fleet, overturning Kubilai's hopes for being the sole master of the region. The Japanese nicknamed the life-saving typhoons the "kamikaze" (in Japanese meaning “divine wind”).

    Climate and the World Ocean

    The oceans absorb and accumulate most of the excess heat and about a quarter of carbon dioxide generated by the greenhouse effect, without immediate increase in water temperature. This means that even if the humankind completely switches to alternative energy sources, stops deforestation and excessive carbon dioxide emissions, heat energy previously accumulated by the ocean can re-enter the atmosphere and warm it for long period after it was absorbed.

    By 2050, a number of coastal cities and small island states could suffer annual flooding at level that previously occurred once in 100 years.

    As glaciers retreat, the glacier-fed rivers will begin to dry out, and areas located downstream will face a water shortage.

    The increase in ocean water acidity due to the growing carbon dioxide emissions threatens the abundance of marine species and sustainability of fisheries, which are the primary food and livelihood source for more than 3 billion people.

    Do you know?
    20th century
    Throughout the 20th century, the global mean sea level has increased by 17 cm
    Beginning of the
    21th century
    The rate of sea level rise is increasing:
    from 1901 to 2010 the average speed was 1.7 mm per year,v from 1971 to 2010 - 2.0 mm per year,
    from 1993 to 2010 - 3.2 mm per year
    End of the
    21th century
    By the end of the 21st century, the global mean sea level will rise at 0.26-0.82 m above the 2000 level

    Predicted inundation from 5 m sea level rise

    Projected sea level rise (5 m) for Northwestern Europe. Population at risk in the inundation area is calculated at over 21.7 million people.

    See more in English, (Rowley et al. 2007)

    There are two reasons for the global sea level rise:

    1) melting glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica add massive amounts of water to the World Ocean;

    2) thermal expansion of ocean water. As the temperature increases, the water expands and occupies a greater volume.


    At the moment, one third of the world's population lives in a 100-kilometer coastal zone. The adverse effects of sea-level rise will primarily affect these people. Build these threats by filling in the gaps with the words below:

    Do you know?

    Due to the permafrost thawing in the Arctic and Siberia, more methane and carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. And this, as you know, accelerates global warming: thereby forming an endless circle.

    Another consequence of the sea level rise is the coastal erosion and shoreline destruction by waves and storms.

    The Arctic shoreline is affected by coastal erosion, which is more pronounced there. Previously, the shores there were protected by ice. Due to global warming, there is less ice. Storms are getting stronger and shore destruction is accelerating. In some areas annual shore recede is about 10-25 m!

    Warming in the Arctic

    Specific climate change scenarios based on the volume of greenhouse gas emissions have been developed for the Arctic. Consider two of them.

    Extensive A2 scenario: In the 21st century the world community should mainly focus on economic growth. The population will grow faster than in the B2 scenario, and by 2100 it will reach 15 billion people. The world gross national product will be slightly higher than in the B2 scenario. However, the distribution of gross national product and technical infrastructure will be uneven. Burning of coal will account for 53% of all generated energy. The use of only 28% of the energy resources will not be accompanied by CO2 atmospheric emissions. As a result, in 2100, the Arctic will be 7°C warmer than in the beginning of the 21-st century. And the global mean sea level will increase by more than 30 cm.

    Intensive B2 scenario: In the 21st century human civilization will seriously deal with the protection of the environment and the destruction of social inequality on the planet, and the world community will make all decisions taking into account local conditions. According to this scenario, the population in 2100 will reach 10.4 billion people. Economic benefits and advances in technology will be fairly evenly distributed throughout the world. Coal combustion will produce only 22% of all energy generated, and 49% of energy will be produced without CO2 emissions. As a result, the average temperature in the Arctic by 2100 will also increase significantly - by 5°C. And the global mean sea level will increase by more than 40 cm.

    Projected Arctic temperature rise.
    Projected global mean sea level rise in the 21st century (cm).
    Nauka i Zhizn, #2, 2005 See in Russian

    Don't confuse the Arctic and Antarctica! Using pictograms, establish the distinctive features of the Arctic and Antarctica.



    Answer: The Arctic is the Arctic Ocean, surrounded by land.
    Antarctica is a separate continent surrounded by the Southern Ocean.
    There are no penguins in the Arctic, and there are no polar bears in Antarctica.
    In the Arctic, the research stations with personnel are located directly on drifting ice.
    Over the past 50 years, the Arctic has been warming up to 2 times faster than the rest of the world.
    By 2050, the temperature in the Arctic will rise by 4-5°C.
    Over the past 50 years, the area of the Arctic ice has decreased by 70%.
    By 2030, the Arctic Ocean may be completely free of ice in the summer.
    Arctic ice pack (summer minimum observed in September)
    (National Snow and Ice Data Center (USA),
    - April, trend = -2.6 ±1 [1000km3/Decade]
    - Sept., trend = -3.2 ±1 [1000km3/Decade]
    Arctic Sea Ice Volume in 1979-2020, September low and April high (Polar Science Center, PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume Reanalysis,, PIOMAS Arctic Sea Ice Volume Reanalysis,

    Predicted permafrost thawing in the 21st century.

    Do you know?

    Good news: due to the increase in plankton and krill populations, the population of bowhead whales has recovered.

    The transformation of the Arctic into a less severe and biologically different region is in full swing. What is the reason for the rapid warming in the Arctic? Scientists call several factors at once.


    A key element of the Arctic climate is the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean. Since the end of the 19th century, due to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect has been increasing, Arctic ice melts to a greater extent in summer, its area decreases. Dark sea water absorbs solar heat more than it reflects. As a result, the water temperature in the ocean rises and the ice melts even stronger.

    Ozone holes

    Compared to carbon dioxide, the proportion of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the atmosphere is very small, but they much more actively enhance the greenhouse effect. Scientists when modelling Earth climate in 1955-2005, took into account all the known factors of warming and cooling (volcanic eruptions, for example), and included ozone-depleting substances. It turned out that without them the Arctic would be half colder (50%), and global warming in general would decrease by a third.

    Polvani L.M., Previdi M., England M.R. et al.

    Wayer temperature

    Water temperature in the deep layers of the Arctic Ocean is higher due to Atlantic and Pacific currents. At the surface, the water is close to the freezing point. Accordingly, there is vertical heat transfer from bottom to top. It is stronger the greater is the temperature difference between depth and surface. Scientists estimate the contribution of this phenomenon to accelerating warming in the Arctic at 20%.

    Seismic activity

    The temperature chart of the region has two warming peaks - in the 1940s and currently. The eathquakes in the Arctic are have been reported by the observers. One of the the sesmically active areas is the Aleutian Arc located 2000-3000 km from the Arctic Sea. There one tectonic plate moves under another. The largest earthquakes with a magnitude 8 occurred on the Aleutians between 1899 and 1906. 20 years later, the first wave of abnormal warming in the Arctic began. Another series of powerful quakes happened between 1957 and 1965. And again, after 20 years, an increase in temperatures was observed. Mechanical waves from an earthquake sometimes spread over significant distances, creating fracture zones in the earth's crust. The effect of powerful temblors could reach the Arctic region and the Arctic Ocean at a speed of 100 kilometers per year in just 20 years. This released methane from permafrost and offshore gas hydrates, which increased the greenhouse effect in the region and, as a result, accelerated warming.

    Annual mean temperature anomalies in the Arctic

    L. Lobkovsky, Geosciences 2020, 10(11), 428

    The warming of the Arctic zone is becoming obvious: the tundra is slowly overgrown with trees. What are the climatic consequences of turning the Arctic tundra into a taiga?

    Answer: Tree roots stimulate the decay of old organic matter deep in the ground. The transformation of tundra into tundra leads not only to a decrease in the soil ability to store carbon, but also to the thawing of old organic matter, which will later rot and decay releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

    Climate Change and Weather

    All natural phenomena are divided into hydrometeorological (weather) and heliogeophysical (independent of weather and climate). Dangerous weather phenomena include: prolonged heat or severe cold, very strong wind, hurricane, tropical storm (typhoon), dust (sandy) storm, heavy rain, heavy snowfall, tornado, flooding, drought, snow avalanche, mudflower. Note: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis are independent of climate and weather!

    Unfortunately, in most cases it is impossible to predict dangerous weather events. Weather can be predicted for a maximum of two weeks - every 14 days the atmosphere is "updated," and it is physically impossible to trace the air flows for a longer period. But the short-term weather forecast is more accurate. The European weather services can accurately predict the weather for tomorrow about 96% of the time, for the day after tomorrow - 93%, and a three-day forcast is 90% accurate.


    Your family is going to celebrate the next New Year in nature. The programme of the holiday will depend on the weather conditions - either you will have fun outdoors or indoors. When the reliable weather forecast for December 31 will appear, so you can start preparing the holiday program?

    Dangerous weather events, which previously occurred once every 1000 days, now happen every 200-250 days, that is, 4-5 times more often.
    What you can do:
    During dangerous weather events, behave as carefully as possible.
    Learn to provide first aid

    Climate change and biodiversity

    It is extreme weather events, combined with rising temperatures and the early melting of snow, that have contributed to the degradation and loss of biodiversity in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Biological diversity is the variety of plants, animals, bacterias and fungi and the specific ecosystems they are living in, as well as a huge genetic variations within individual species. Biodiversity is a non-renewable resource, which, in most cases, is impossible to reproduce using modern technology.


    What factors negatively affect the conservation of your region's biodiversity?

    Answer:The use of a limited number of animal breeds and crop species in agriculture narrows the genetic base, and therefore harms biodiversity.

    Meadows, as an ecosystem, are even more vulnerable than forests. Forests need to be restored in the areas where they were cut down. And sparsely damaged old-growth forests need to be protected in order to preserve biodiversity.

    The widespread use of exotic (foreign) monoculture plantations negatively affects the restoration of natural forests. For reforestation, it is necessary to use a combination of various local tree species characteristic of the regional forests.

    Do you know?

    Forests are home to about 80% of the world's terrestrial species.

    Forests and wooded areas encompass more than 60,000 tree species.

    Deforestation, forest degradation and climate change pose serious threats to biodiversity.

    Most importantly, biodiversity provides comfortable environment for all living things, including us, human beings. What does it mean? For millions of years, everything that grows, runs, swims, crawls and flies on our planet has adapted to the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. Only minor changes to the composition of this gas "cocktail" composition are possible. But even in an atmosphere with slightly reduced oxygen content, we, like many animals, will not feel important. And what maintains the level of oxygen in the atmosphere? Green plants! With an increase in temperature by 2°C, the total area of forest cover will increase due to the spread of forests into the modern tundra zone. With a temperature increase of 4°C, the retreat of forests will go along the entire southern border of their distribution, and it will become larger than the advance of forest cover to the north, into the tundra zone. That is why deforestation, forest degradation and climate change pose such a serious threat to biodiversity.

    Fischlin et al., 2007. IPCC WGII

    In which region do you think most forests are protected?

    Answer: Africa (27%), Asia (25%), Europe (6%), North and Central America (11%), South America (31%), Oceania (16%).
    Do you know?
    Rainforests are the richest ecosystems in terms of species diversity. They occupy about 7% of the planet's surface and contain more than 90% of all species known today.
    10% of the world's forests = 424 million hectares - designated to preserve biodiversity
    30% of the world's forests = 1.15 billion hectares - used for production purposes
    4% of the world's forests = 180 million hectares - used to provide social services

    In the geological history of the Earth, species constantly appeared and disappeared in the biosphere, because no species can exist forever. Extinction was offset by the emergence of new species, and as a result, the total number of species in the biosphere increased. Species extinction is a natural process of evolution that, in most cases, occurs without human intervention.

    In the 20th century, under the influence of human activity and dramatic climate change, the rate of species extinction is much higher than the natural. It is believed that small animals with a short lifespan are more dependent on environmental conditions and therefore respond faster to climatic changes. Large organisms, of course, also react, but it takes longer to see these adaptations. For example, warm winters in the Arctic are a real disaster for wild and domestic reindeer. Thaws and winter rains cover the snow with ice crust, which prevents reindeer from reaching their main winter feed - lichen and berries.

    Do you know?

    Globall losses of species

    25% of animal and plant species are endangered
    40% of the total number of insects are endangered
    50% of the oral reefs died in the past 150 years
    82% of the global biomass of wild mammals is lost
    Only 3% of the world's oceans are outside the sphere of human economic activity

    Under the influence of climatic and anthropogenic factors, ecosystem changes occur. In ecosystems, a large number of toxic compounds is accumulated, the cycle of substances is disturbed. What do you think is the impact of climate change on biodiversity?

    Answer: All the indicated consequences take place.
    Do you know?
    «Invasive» statistics

    Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature
    935 extinct species of plants and animals (since 1500)

    Causes of extinction

    Invasive species are one of the reasons
    300 species (32%)
    Invasive species are only reason
    126 species (13%)
    261 and 782 species of animals
    39 and 153 plant species
    Invasive alien species have become
    the leader among
    the 12 factors of extinction

    Invasive alien species in Russia and Finland

    Box elder (Acer negundo)
    is invasive in Eastern Europe
    (in floodplain forests, it completely stops the renewal of willow and poplar)

    Beach rose (Rosa rugosa)
    invasive in Finland and Russia
    (it grows on the sea coats)

    Large-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)
    is invasive in Russia and Finland

    What you can do:
    DO NOT make fires outside specially designated places
    Plant trees typical of your area
    Travel only on permitted routes
    Do you know?

    To find out which forest species are preferable to plant in order to reduce the greenhouse effect, it is necessary to calculate the species carbon storage capacity. Take several bars of different wood (oak, spruce, pine, birch, aspen, maple and others). You will also need a ruler and scales. Measure the dimensions of each bar, calculate its volume in cubic centimeters (by multiplying length by width and height) and weigh the bar. Divide the weight of the bar by its volume - so to find out the weight of a wood cube of a side 1 cm. And then divide the resulting number by 2 - this will give the weight of carbon contained in this cube.

    Demonstration sites

    You can learn more about boreal vegetation and its connection to the climate on the Earth planet by visiting special demonstration sites in Otradnoye (Pyhäjärvi) and Forest Museum Lusto in Punkaharju.

    In Russia in the dendrological park named after S.Ya.Sokolov of the Otradnoye Scientific and Experimental Station of the Botanical Institute named after V.L.Komarov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Leningrad Region, Priozersky district, in Plodovoe). You take a guided tour using the IZI.TRAVEL app on your mobile device. Questions and tasks of the quest will make your journey fascinating! You will learn about the benefits that trees bring to us and what trees should be planted near your house. When coniferous trees appeared and how many trees are there per person.

    Go to the IZI.Travel to start your journey.

    In Punkaharju you can inspect the demo plot in the yard of Forest Museum Lusto (61° 47′ 55.02″ N 29° 19′ 14.07″ E, map). The plot is easily accessible from the parking lot of the museum and contain the following species:

    • Picea abies, European spruce
    • Betula pendula, silver birch
    • Quercus robur, common oak
    • Acer platanoides, Norway maple


    Climate change and food security

    Food security is meaning that all people at all times have access to the safe, nutritious and habitual and delicious food needed to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. And for different regions of the Earth, this list of familiar products, of course, differs.

    The optimal temperature for work productivity is around +17 °C, and the biggest crop is grown in the zone with annual average + 15 °C. Countries that now have an average annual temperature below these values may receive small benefits from warming. Countries with hotter climates, on the contrary, will suffer damage.

    At first glance, global warming should contribute to the development of agriculture in the Nordic countries. But it's not that simple. For example, in Europe and Russia, one of the main grain crops is winter wheat. With a warming climate, the zone of ideal climatic conditions for its cultivation will move north. But the soils in these new regions are not as good for wheat as the chernozem soil on which they are grown now! To improve the quality and fertility of soils, large-scale work will be required, which is quite expensive.

    Warming in areas where it was, for example, too cold to grow wheat, will necessarily be combined with warming in areas where before that was the ideal climate for agriculture. It will become noticeably hotter and, in most areas, drier! Growing the same vegetables and fruits in areas where they have been cultivated for centuries, and certain traditions of agriculture have developed, will become much more difficult (or impossible).

    That is, for agriculture, the most damaging are the temperature increases, changes in precipitation and its distribution, sea level rise (for coastal lowlands) and frequent droughts and floods.

    Countries in temperate and harsher climatic zones, such as Russia and Finland, may face another challenge: increased competition between forestry and agriculture. Due to climate change, agricultural development of new land currently occupied by forests will become possible. As a result, deforestation may increase.

    Productivity of 1 hectare of agricultural land is greater than productivity of 1 hectare of forest
    With an increase in global average temperature by 1.5-2 °C and a decrease in precipitation by the 2030-2040s, areas for growing corn, millet and sorghum in Africa will decrease by 40-80%
    Sea level rise of 30 cm could reduce rice production by 11%
    By 2050, 80% of the territories of some regions in Central America and Brazil will be unsuitable for coffee cultivation
    In order to get 500 g of meat, it takes about 10,000 litres of water: 20 times more than for the production of potatoes of the same weight
    Agriculture is a source of income for 1/3 of all Earth’s working population

    Food production on our planet is mainly based on agricultural methods developed in stable climatic conditions of the Holocene. Changing climate disturbs these conditions. Precipitation, temperature and aridity are crucial climatic factors for agricultural production. According to scientists, the rampant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in global temperature by 5-8,5°C could lead by 2081-2100, to 31% of the world's cereals and 34% of livestock will be produced in the same areas under more challenging climatic conditions. However, it is encouraging that, if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, the global temperature will increase by 1-2,6°C only, and food production under unprecedented climatic conditions will be negligible - only 8% of the world's cereals and 5% of the world's livestock.

    Safe Climatic Space (SCS), i.e. climatic extent of baseline conditions (1970-2000)
    Climatic extent for two climate change scenarios (2081-2100)
    - Low emission scenario - SSP1-2.6 (A, B) and
    - High emission scenario - SSP5-8.5 (C, D)
    Darker red denotes a higher production in respective climatic bin
    (M. Kummu et al., One Earth 4, 2021, 720–729)

    Fish provides more than 3 billion people with 20% of the average daily animal protein. In small islands and developing countries, fish account for at least 50 per cent of animal protein consumption.

    Scientists and fishermen are concerned about the increase in temperature and acidity of ocean waters. As the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere grows, its absorption by the ocean also grows increasing sea water acidity (pH). Warm-water fish shift to colder high latitudes. As a result, these fish shift their ranges. The reason for the migration is not so much an increase in water temperature, as a decline of the main feed for ocean fish - phytoplankton - due to water acidification.

    Projected decrease in ocean surface acidification by the end of the 21st century under the most (left) and least (right) favourable scenarios of human impact on climate
    AR4 WGI, IPCC, 2013
    What you can do:
    Eat at home and in the family. A single person consumes 38% more food, 42% more packaging, 55% more electricity, and 61% more gas than one member of a family of four
    Choose seasonal products and locally produced goods
    Once a week be a vegetarian
    Buy food by weight, unpacked, use reusable and recyclable packaging
    DO NOT use disposable tableware
    Separate waste
    DO NOT throw litter into rivers, lakes and oceans

    Climate Change and Health

    In 2008, the global share of the urban population exceeded 50% for the first time in modern history. Cities are the environmental flashpoints of our planet. Emissions of various substances from enterprises and vehicles due to dense development "stagnate" in the atmospheric surface layer above the city, creating a greenhouse effect and raising the air temperature in the city by several degrees compared to the adjacent territory.

    Temperature distribution over the city (urban heat island)

    Climate change has a major impact on human life and health. While previously our health seemed to mainly depend on safe behaviour, heredity, occupation, environment and access to health care, now it is clear that it also depends on climate change. The temperatures common for people living in hot climates can be considered abnormally high for milder climate.

    It is known that fluctuations in pressure, temperature and humidity can make uncomfortable living conditions, and there are more and more examples when the consequences of such changes become truly tragic for older people, young children and people with poor health. During severe heat, the air concentration of pollen and other particles causing allergies and asthma increases. Today, 300 million people suffer from asthma and every decade the number of patients increases one and a half times.

    In large cities, on hot days, people living or working in the city center, as well as people whose professional activities are associated with a long stay in the open air, for example, road workers, builders, are also at risk.

    With a warming climate, dangerous infectious diseases (e.g., encephalitis, malaria) are spreading to areas where they have never been registered before, and the period of potential infectious hazards is increasing.

    Do you know?

    Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral infectious disease. The virus is transmitted to the human body by a bite of infected tick. The ticks - the main vector of the virus - are found in the taiga. Recently, the increase in cases of tick-borne encephalitis is annually recorded in St. Petersburg and the region. Scientists believe that this is due to climate warming. Warm winters and spring favour the spread of ticks: they are less likely to die in winter and faster proliferate in spring. Usually, only a small proportion of all ticks are infected with encephalitis. But the total number of ticks increases annually and therefore the number of infected individuals. That is why scientists, foresters, loggers and other professionals working in woodlands get vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis before the season. As of June 15, 2021, since the beginning of "tick season" in the Leningrad region, ticks have already bitten 3249 people, including 694 children.

    Another threat to human health in the city is the proximity to birds. Back in the 1930s, gulls were rare in St. Petersburg. But over time, these birds established in the city. Abundance of food in open refuse containers is almost like a charity dining room. In addition, flat roofs of multi-storey buildings are ideal for nesting.

    But the seagull is not only a kind of symbol of the city, but also a feathered orderly. If these birds will disappear, hordes of rats would spread in urban landfills. But the problems created by gulls include a rather loud screaming at night, and they a real hazard to aircrafts during take-off and landing.

    Pigeons bring much more trouble to the townspeople. They are, of course, much quieter than gulls, but there is much more harm from them. Each pigeon annually leaves 10-12 kg of manure on the asphalt and facades of city houses, which, like acid, corrodes stone and metal. It is not for nothing that in many European cities it is strictly forbidden to feed these birds. Moreover, it is pigeons that are the carriers of many harmful diseases. And unlike gulls, their number is now constantly increasing.

    What you can do:
    DO NOT feed birds on city streets.
    Separate waste.
    Treat clothes with repellents when visiting forests.
    Don't leave trash in the forest.

    Climate threats

    Temperature change by the end of the 21st century compared to the pre-industrial era, the middle of the 18th century

    Over the past 130 years, the average temperature on Earth increased by almost 1 ° С. In the Northern Hemisphere this there has not been a warm period in the last 1400 years. 16 of 17 years old the new millennium entered the ten warmest in the entire the history of meteorological observations, and 2016 became the record warm year
    Along with the rise in temperature, all natural systems the planet is out of balance: glaciers are melting and permafrost; the level of the World ocean; floods, droughts and hurricanes all happen more often; the weather is becoming more changeable
    By 2050, due to the effects of climate change, increase in population, decrease in area forests and sea level rise people affected by floods and other natural disasters disasters will increase to 2 billion people.
    A third of the world's population lives in a 100-kilometer coastal area. These people change the quality of water resources will be touched in the first place. Sea level rise will increase the salinity of coastal freshwater sources and, due to flooding, will reduce the area for living.
    Climate change will accelerate the melting of glaciers, and also the mode and the number of dropdowns will change precipitation. By 2080, 1.8 billion people will live in conditions of water scarcity.
    Measures to adapt to higher average global temperature on Earth total 2 ° C will cost humanity 70-100 billion dollars a year.
    As a result of the burning of fossil fuels, the development of vehicles and deforestation concentration in the atmosphere of such greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), reached a record high values ​​that have not been on Earth for at least 800 thousand years. At first industrial era - i.e. from the 1750s - increased content in the atmosphere carbon dioxide by 40%, methane by 120%, and nitrous oxide by 20%.
    Hover around the map to explore climate threats by region.
    Tap region numbers on the map to explore local climate threats.
    10FAR EAST


    • Abnormal precipitation, flooding
    • Heat waves
    • Reduction of glaciers, forest fires, changes in ecosystems, penetration of new species of animals and plants (in different parts of the continent)
    • Water scarcity
    • Increasing frequency and scale of forest fires
    • Increase in frequency and strength of hurricanes (tornadoes) (in the middle part of the continent)
    Harmful consequences for a person
    Decrease grain yield
    Increased damage from hurricanes, tornadoes and tropical cyclones


    • Abnormal precipitation
    • Changes in river runoff and problems related to electricity supply (many countries are almost entirely dependent on hydropower)
    • Threat of extinction of Amazonian forests and La Plata ecosystems
    • Reduction of mountain glaciers, mudslides, avalanches and catastrophic floods due to overflowing glacial lakes
    • Water scarcity in selected parts of the continent
    • Severe destruction of coral reefs
    Harmful consequences for a person
    Problems of maintaining indigenous traditional lifestyles


    • Change in the ecosystems of individual islands, destruction of coral reefs
    • Full or partial flooding of islands
    • Threats to marine ecosystems due to rising acidity and ocean temperature
    • Reduced tourist flow
    Harmful consequences for a person
    The need to relocate people


    • Reduction of glaciers in West Antarctica
    • hanging habitat conditions for penguins, other birds and marine animals


    • Reduction of sea ice, Greenland glaciers and snow cover
    • Destruction (erosion) of the coast
    • Reduction of tundra area
    • Permafrost melting with large emissions of carbon dioxide and methane
    • Warming, changes in vegetation cover, animal migration
    • Problems for marine and coastal animals
    • Threat of infiltration of new species negatively affecting local


    • Heat waves, droughts and severe forest fires in summer
    • Catastrophic floods in northern Australia during the rainy season
    • Severe destruction of coral reefs
    • High risk of infiltration of new species of animals and plants displacing local
    Harmful consequences for a person
    Lack of fresh water and reduced crop yields


    • Severe droughts, lack of fresh water
    • Reduced forest area
    • Rising water temperature of the Great Lakes of East Africa
    • Disappearance of Kilimanjaro glaciers
    Harmful consequences for a person
    Extremely expensive adaptation of agriculture
    Problems of maintaining indigenous traditional lifestyles
    Mass population migration from the most affected regions
    Food shortages


    In the Mediterranean countries:
    • Heat waves, severe forest fires and water scarcity
    • Heavy rains, heavy floods
    • Changes in paths and timing of bird migration, plant flowering, etc.
    • Penetration of new species of plants and animals, including dangerous species of insects - pathogens
    • Retreating glaciers in the mountains and reducing the flow of tourists in winter
    • Flooding of coastal areas and cities due to sea level rise
    Harmful consequences for a person
    Very expensive adaptation
    Coastal and urban flooding
    Reduced agricultural land and grain yields
    In the XXII century, it is possible to change the direction of the Gulf Stream and a strong cooling in Northern Europe and the British Isles


    • Frequent droughts and water scarcity in Central and Western Asia
    • Reduction of mountain glaciers, mudslides, avalanches and catastrophic floods due to overflowing glacial lakes
    • Severe river flooding
    • Flooding of large coastal cities and fertile plains due to sea level rise
    • Massive negative changes in marine, river and terrestrial ecosystems are likely
    Harmful consequences for a person
    Reduced agricultural land and grain yields
    Mass population migration from the most affected regions


    Harmful consequences for a person
    Problems of maintaining indigenous traditional lifestyles
    10 drops from faucet per minute equals 263 litres per year
    40 °C
    Daily washing in the washing machine requires almost 10 times less energy than one and a half hours of washing at a temperature of 90 ° C
    2 kW
    An electric stove can consume up to 20 kW, which is 10 times more than a high-powered electric kettle or iron
    Electrical appliances turned off but not pulled out of the socket consume an average of 5 watts per hour, that is, 40 kW per year
    If we save 1 ton of paper, then we will also save 13 tons of oil, 4100 kW of electricity and 32 tons of water
    What you can do:
    Separate waste
    Stop using disposable tableware and packaging
    Disconnect electrical appliances that are not in use
    Turn off water while brushing teeth or washing
    Replace gadgets not more than once in 3 years
    Eat more vegetables and cereals and less meat
    Ensure that your garden plants do not "leave" the site for the forest
    Do you know?

    Usually, the lithium-ion battery, which modern gadgets are equipped with, withstands 500 - 550 cycles of full charging. If you do not go on a trip where it will be impossible to charge the phone, or there is no other urgent need, then it is not worth charging the battery 100%. To maximize battery life, it is best to charge it a couple times a day from 20 to 80%. So you can extend the battery life by up to three times.


    Demonstration sites

    You can learn more about boreal vegetation and its connection to the climate on the Earth planet by visiting special demonstration sites in Otradnoye (Pyhäjärvi) and Forest Museum Lusto in Punkaharju.

    In Russia in the dendrological park named after S.Ya.Sokolov of the Otradnoye Scientific and Experimental Station of the Botanical Institute named after V.L.Komarov of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Leningrad Region, Priozersky district, in Plodovoe). You take a guided tour using the IZI.TRAVEL app on your mobile device. Questions and tasks of the quest will make your journey fascinating! You will learn about the benefits that trees bring to us and what trees should be planted near your house. When coniferous trees appeared and how many trees are there per person.

    Go to the IZI.Travel to start your journey.

    In Punkaharju you can inspect the demo plot in the yard of Forest Museum Lusto (61° 47′ 55.02″ N 29° 19′ 14.07″ E, map). The plot is easily accessible from the parking lot of the museum and contain the following species:

    • Picea abies, European spruce
    • Betula pendula, silver birch
    • Quercus robur, common oak
    • Acer platanoides, Norway maple