The Paz River climate is influenced by the nordkap branch of the North Atlantic warm current which flows into the Barents Sea.  It results in a rather warm winter, cool summer and high air humidity, lots of precipitation, often and rapid change of weather and wind direction.   The reserve's area is in the Atlantic and arctic region of the Subarctic and Temperate Zones.   Frequent cyclones in winter and anticyclones in summer are typical.   

The sun's altitude at noon varies within a year and it results in the polar nights in winter and the white nights in summer.  The polar night sets in December and is over in the middle of January; the polar day is in June and July when the sun does not set at all.  One can often see Aurora Borealis or the northern lights in winter.   

Prevailing marine air masses and strong cyclones define weather in winter.  Alternation of low and mean temperature in winter months is typical; it is not possible to say which month is the coldest. The mean air temperature in January and February is not lower than -10°С in the north of the reserve but in the south it drops up to –13-14°С.   In winter a temperature drop can reach 45ºС within a day in case of a thaw when a warm wind blows from the Atlantic.  Ingress of air masses from the Arctic results in a significant temperature drop in winter and night frosts in summer.    

July is the hottest month.  Long-term observations show that an average temperature is +13,8°С in the north of the reserve and + 14°С in the south of it.  Abnormal high temperature was registered in the north of the reserve (+16,4°С ) and in the south ( + 16,7°С) in July, 2003 ; it was 2,4-2,7°С higher than on average.  In June and August there can be ground frosts in case of arctic air masses' intrusion.  The first autumn frosts which indicate the forthcoming autumn are in the period from August 28 to August 31these dates can differ.  The temperature can drop to  minus1-6°С.    

Intensity and amount of precipitation within a year is defined by proximity to the Barents Sea.  In winter there is more precipitation in the north of the reserve than in the south but snow cover is higher in the south.  In April the amount of precipitation increases in the south of the reserve and it rains mostly in July and August.  Seventy per cent of all precipitation is in a warm period.  The least precipitation is in September and then there is much more precipitation in October due to development of cyclonic activity over the Barents Sea.  As a result there is much snow in the north of the reserve; generally snow cover appears there a couple of days earlier than in the south of the reserve.     On average a frostless season lasts 97 days but it can vary from 148 days to 62 days.      

North, north and east winds prevail in summer and south and south-west in winter.  An average wind velocity within a year is 3,7 meters a second in the north of the reserve and 1,7 meters a second in the south of it. Maximum wind velocity is 30-40 meters a second.  Major storms are in March when snow cover becomes more solid and snow evaporation begins.  Snow becomes lower at the end of March or at the beginning of April.     

Table 1Average Long-Term Climatic Data of Paz River Valley



North of reserve

South of reserve


Average temperature in January




Average temperature in July




Minimum temperature

-40,1 (27.01.1999)

-46,1 (27.01.1999)


Maximum temperature

+31,4 (19.07.2000)

+34,9 (19.07.2000)


Annual precipitation (average)




Average height of snow cover




Average maximum height of snow cover




Length of snow period, days