Russian, Canadian Winter Days Growing Milder

The coldest winter days in Russia and Canada have become up to 4 degrees Celsius milder since the 1950s in an extreme sign of climate change, the British Meteorological Office said in a report.

A study of daily minimum and maximum temperatures said a trend toward warmer nights and hotter days was set to bring more heat waves and shifts in crop growing seasons.

"Minimum temperatures have seen the biggest increases, most notably over Russia and Canada, where the coldest days are now up to 4 [degrees] Celsius warmer than they were in the middle of the 20th century," the meteorological office's Hadley Center said in the report, which was published Wednesday.

Anecdotal coverage of warmer winters in recent years has been one factor contributing to increasing discussion of global warming as an issue. The report by the British Meteorological Office provides more evidence that temperatures are changing, although it does not offer direct evidence of the causes.

Last year, the UN Climate Panel projected a "best estimate" that world temperatures would rise by 1.8 C to 4 C by 2100 because of a build-up of greenhouse gases, after a rise of 0.7 C in the 20th century.

Musing about the possible advantages of a warmer world, President Vladimir Putin said in 2002 that milder winters might at least cut Russians' spending on fur coats.