Will this be the hottest New Year ever recorded in Belgrade?

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Photo illustration: Unsplash (John Bowe)

What are we talking about when we talk about the New Year?

Besides the celebration and (God willing) the opportunity to rest, we are also talking about a specific environment. If we’re lucky, it’s an idyll in the family circle, it’s gifts and good wishes, but also the inevitable snow cover that, even in this part of the Earth, gives the whole picture that touch special and nostalgic.

However, that last element does not seem to fit into our picture of the New Year anymore, he writes Climate 101.

That is, there was no snow cover for the New Year in Belgrade for seven years in a row. This is the longest streak recorded since 1950. And it will probably continue this year, because the current weather forecast says that during the New Year’s weekend in the capital, the maximum daily temperature will reach up to 18 degrees Celsius.

The current New Year’s temperature record was set not so long ago: it was 2010, when 18.2 degrees were measured. But whether that record is broken this New Year or not, one thing is certain – there won’t be any snow this year either.

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Certainly, historically, the snow cover is not a typical part of Belgrade’s New Year as much as memories and personal impressions can tell us: from 1950 until today, the capital city was covered with snow for the Eve of New Year’s Day only 22 times. And yet, when you look at the bigger picture, it is clear that, due to climate change, snow is a less frequent seasonal guest today than it used to be.

Photo: Climate 101 (In what years was Belgrade covered in snow?)

That is, if we look at the period from 1951 to 1990, Belgrade had an average of 31 days with snow cover per year. There were, of course, all sorts of exceptions and extremes before, in both directions: years when there was almost no snow, but also those like the winter of 1970, when there was snow for more than 60 days.

However, extremely snowy winters have become very rare, and those with almost no snow are becoming more frequent. Therefore, in the last ten years, only one winter – 2019 – had more snow days than the above-mentioned average.

This change doesn’t just affect our New Year holiday experience. Snow is actually an important factor in global temperature regulation because it reflects a large percentage of the Sun’s energy, while at the same time keeping the ground warm under the blanket and preventing evaporation of moisture from the ground into the atmosphere. Its absence can cause various climatic, ecological, hydrological and even agricultural changes.

Meanwhile, in Belgrade, the New Year’s wardrobe of coats, hats and gloves is slowly being replaced by thin autumn jackets and flat shoes. New years like the one in 1954, when the snow height was a record 31 cm of snow, sound like curiosities of a bygone era that won’t return so easily.

It remains for us, of course, to adapt – but also to fight to stop the process that is causing irreversible damage to both our natural and social reality. In that name, may the new year be more successful than ever!

Source: Climate 101

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