Te nature of Donbas
Donbas has a temperate continental climate with clearly-defined seasons. Tere are big differences between winter and summer temperatures. Te average January temperature is –4°C to –6°C. In some parts of the Oblast it reaches –7°C. During the coldest winters the temperature can fall to –36°C, while the maximum in summer is 40°C to 42°C.
Observations show that climate change is already having an effect in the region, notably on the time of for- mation and duration of permanent snow cover and on the duration of seasons. Cold winters and persistently hot summers combined with increas- ing precipitation have inevitable con- sequences for agriculture. Accord- ing to the Oblast administration the Donetsk region urgently needs to im- plement a regional action plan, both to reduce the region’s own emissions of greenhouse gases and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Precipitation in Donbas is 350 to 600 mm annually. Tis is not enough: spring, the end of summer and autumn are arid, and the rains are intense, local- ized and brief. Water is a big problem for Donbas. Where industry is con- centrated and population highest, daily demand is high. For example, produc- ing one tonne of coal takes half a cubic metre of water, one tonne of steel needs 25 m3, and a tonne of sulphuric acid 90 m3. Donbas gulps down 55 per cent of Ukraine’s total water consumption. Guaranteeing supplies to the area is a se- rious problem, so Donbas has to rely on a number of large reservoirs. Donetsk Oblast itself is one of Ukraine’s most freshwater-deficient regions. Te large mineral reserves in the Donetsk coal basin have resulted in rapid industrial development here – much of it need- ing plenty of water – and a consider- able concentration of population. Tat means there is now an acute shortage of high-quality fresh water for households, farmers, industry, and other users.
Sea of Azov
Te Donetsk Oblast borders on the Sea of Azov, which is a shal- low branch of the Black Sea, con- nected to it by the Kerch Strait. Te large rivers that flow into the Sea of Azov are the Don and the Kuban. Te Sea of Azov now lies within the borders of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
Te sea received its current name from the town founded by the Cumans (a nomadic people who in- habited a shiſting area north of the Black Sea) in 1067. Tey called it Azak, which later became Azov. Te sea covers an area of 38,000 km2, with an average depth of 8 metres, a maximum depth of 14 metres, and a water volume of 320 km3. Te sea has been a major thoroughfare
since the dawn of history. By the end of the 19th century more than 2,660 ships, with a total capacity of 362,000 tonnes, docked in its harbours every year. At the time the Russian merchant fleet on the Sea of Azov numbered 1,210 ves- sels. To this day it remains a major transport route.
On 11 November 2007 four vessels – the Volnogorsk, Nakhichevan, Kovel and Hadji-Izmail – sank in the Kerch Strait near the Russian port of Kavkaz in a severe storm. Six vessels broke adriſt and ran aground. Two tankers – Volgon- eſt-139 and Volgoneſt-123 – were damaged. About 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil and 6,800 tonnes of sul- phur spilled into the Sea of Azov.
Source: Donetsk Oblast State of the Environment Report, 2007