Yet another Dzud in 2016?
Jan 26 2016
Mongolia is a country where there is no place for compromise. With very warm temperatures in Summer time, but an icy climate during the period between December and March, the whole country is under snow and ice. Ulan Bator is by itself considered the coldest capital city on earth, well, even beating Antarctica's weather last week! But you have to understand that in the countryside, temperatures are even more cold. This year, it is common to see the thermometer displaying -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and below in the outdoors. The most alarming thing is, it doesn't stop there. While the temperatures themselves can be already harsh, you have to add the snow that is the true main problem for the herders and their livestock. This Winter, snow is covering about 90% of the whole Mongolian territory, this in conjunction with the abnormally low temperatures between November 2015 and January 2016 will affect 965.000 people according to the Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment. This phenomenon is called often the Zud in Mongolian language (pronounced "Dzud"), or an extreme climate that is sometimes seen in winters. Very harsh weather conditions that are displaying an abnormal amount of snow, and forces the livestock to find their food with difficulty. Often, cold and ice don't help increasing the problems for the animals, and as a result, a large number of them die. This was the case between the years 2000 to 2002, 3 winters when the extreme cold killed about 11 million animals, a large portion of all the country's livestock. Mongolian people think of 3 types of Zuds:
- The white Zud (with more snow than normal)
- The Iron Zud (when the grassland is covered of ice, result of the combination of the rain and cold temperatures)
- The black Zud, caused by a drought in summertime, providing less food for the animals, and followed by a cold winter.