Before I came to the US I had never seen trees blooming in Spring. The land I grew up in has a subarctic climate, that means very cold winters and short rainy summers and also poor vegetation. In the north region of Russia there is a town called Vorkuta. You can only get there by airplane once a week or by train. There are no roads due to severe weather conditions and it is impossible to build a highway because there would be nothing to support it. If you want to ride a snowmobile in the winter, this is the place to do it because there is so much snow, you never really dream of that kind of snow. But of course, I dream about snow sometimes, I miss that land.
Vorkuta’s coordinates are 66 latitudes and 70 longitudes. The town is surrounded by tundra, there are no tall trees, but only some bushes.
The land has a subarctic climate with short cool summers and very cold and dry winters. The average February temperature is about -4F and in July is 55F. The polar days last from the end of May through the middle of July. Polar nights last from December 17 through December 30 – during this time you won’t see much daylight. If you get up to work in the morning it is dark, you come back from work it is already dark. Lack of vitamin D is guaranteed.
When I hear people talk about how the climate is not changing, I always give them my real-life example and observations of how the weather has changed in my town. My parents were born in Vorkuta and they have been telling me stories of how winters were in their childhood – long, severe, with so much snow and days off from school. Killing freezing weather in February that followed with snow blizzards in March.
When I was growing up the winters were steal cold but according to my parents the temperatures weren’t as freezing as it used to be. And now the summer’s highest temperatures could reach mid 90 in July and this is not usual for my region.
Last year I remember when I called my father and he told me how people were going out to the tundra for a BBQ every day and even at night because it was not that hot and the sun still shines. I couldn’t believe my ears. So looking back to July, 1997- the highest temperature point is +20C, (68 F) +18 C a few times a month. Also there were about ten rainy days. In 2017 the temperature was +25C,+27C,+28C,+29C almost for a whole month, which was as hot as New York and one day rain with thunderstorms, which is very not at all common for this region to have thunderstorms. See this table for more complete information. This was just an example of 1997 and 2017. Yes, it is still cold and rainy more than warm and sunny, but it could be just the beginning of something bigger. In a few centuries the town could be turned to a new vacation destination. Who knows.