Causes of the Russian heat wave and Pakistani floods

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:56 PM GMT on August 13, 2010

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The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is one of the most intense, widespread, and long-lasting heat waves in world history. Only the European heat wave of 2003, which killed 35,000 - 50,000 people, and the incredible North American heat wave of July 1936, which set all-time extreme highest temperature records in fifteen U.S. states, can compare. All of these heat waves were caused by a highly unusual kink in the jet stream that remained locked in place for over a month. The jet stream is an upper-level river of air, between the altitudes of about 30,000 - 40,000 feet (10,000 - 12,000 meters). In July over Europe and Asia, the jet stream has two branches: a strong southern "subtropical" jet that blows across southern Europe, and a weaker "polar" jet that blows across northern Europe. The polar jet stream carries along the extratropical cyclones (lows) that bring the mid-latitudes most of their precipitation. The polar jet stream also acts as the boundary between cold, Arctic air, and warm tropical air. If the polar jet stream shifts to the north of its usual location, areas just to its south will be much hotter and drier than normal. In July 2010, a remarkably strong polar jet stream developed over northern Europe. This jet curved far to the north of Moscow, then plunged southwards towards Pakistan. This allowed hot air to surge northwards over most of European Russia, and prevented rain-bearing low pressure systems from traveling over the region. These rain-bearing low pressure systems passed far to the north of European Russia, then dove unusually far to the south, into northern Pakistan. The heavy rains from these lows combined with Pakistan's usual summer monsoon rains to trigger Pakistan's most devastating floods in history.


Figure 1. Winds of the jet stream at an altitude of 300 millibars (roughly 30,000 feet high). Left: Average July winds from the period 1968 - 1996 show that a two-branch jet stream typically occurs over Europe and Asia--a northern "polar" jet stream, and a more southerly "subtropical" jet stream. Right: the jet stream pattern in July 2010 was highly unusual, with a very strong polar jet looping far to the north of Russia, then diving southwards towards Pakistan. Image credit: NOAA/ESRL.

What caused this unusual jet stream pattern?
The unusual jet stream pattern that led to the 2010 Russian heat wave and Pakistani floods began during the last week of June, and remained locked in place all of July and for the first half of August. Long-lived "blocking" episodes like this are usually caused by unusual sea surface temperature patterns, according to recent research done using climate models. For example, Feudale and Shukla (2010) found that during the summer of 2003, exceptionally high sea surface temperatures of 4°C (7°F) above average over the Mediterranean Sea, combined with unusually warm SSTs in the northern portion of the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic, combined to shift the jet stream to the north over Western Europe and create the heat wave of 2003. I expect that the current SST pattern over the ocean regions surrounding Europe played a key role in shifting the jet stream to create the heat wave of 2010. Note that the SST anomaly pattern is quite different this year compared to 2003, which may be why this year's heat wave hit Eastern Europe, and the 2003 heat wave hit Western Europe. Human-caused climate change also may have played a role; using climate models, Stott et al. (2004) found it very likely (>90% chance) that human-caused climate change has at least doubled the risk of severe heat waves like the great 2003 European heat wave.


Figure 2. A comparison of the departure of sea surface temperature (SST) from average just prior the the start of the great European heat waves of 2003 and 2010. Temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea were up to 4°C above average in 2003, which has been implicated as a major cause of the Western European heat wave of 2003. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

References
Feudale, L., and J. Shukla (2010), "Influence of sea surface temperature on the European heat wave of 2003 summer. Part I: an observational study", Climate Dynamics DOI: 10.1007/s00382-010-0788-0

Stott, P.A., Stone, D.A., and M.R. Allen (2004), "Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003", Nature 432, 610-614 (2 December 2004) | doi:10.1038/nature03089. (Here is a free version of the paper, presented at a conference.)

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has posted an analysis of the recent extreme weather events, concluding, "the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming."

See also my posts, The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010: 102°F in Moscow and, Over 15,000 likely dead in Russian heat wave; Asian monsoon floods kill hundreds more.

Moscow sees real relief from the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010
For the first time in more than a month, temperatures at Moscow's Domodedovo airport failed to exceed 30°C (86°F) today. Clouds and thunderstorms blew into the city this morning, keeping the high temperature down to just 29°C (84°F). This breaks a string of 35 straight days when the temperature reached 30°C. At Moscow's official observing site, the Moscow Observatory, this string was 30 days. Moscow's average high temperature for August 13 is 20°C (68°F), so today's temperatures were still well above normal. However, today's cool-down marks the beginning of the end for Russia's great heat wave. The latest forecast for Moscow calls for high temperatures below 30°C for the coming week, and Moscow may not exceed that threshold for the remainder of summer. Long range forecasts from the ECMWF and GFS models continue to suggest that a series of troughs of low pressure will attack the ridge of high pressure anchored over Russia, bringing cooler temperatures just 5°C (8°F) above average to Russia late next week. By ten days from now, the ECMWF model shows a strong trough of low pressure over Moscow, and a end to the Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010. Moscow still has to concern itself with smoke from the wildfires burning southeast of the city; winds are expected to shift early next week and bring the smoke towards the city again. However, the cooler weather should aid fire-fighting efforts, so the smoke problems should not be as bad as last week's nightmare.


Figure 2. Image from NASA's Aqua satellite of smoke from wildfires burning to the southeast of Moscow yesterday, August 12, 2010. Northerly winds were keeping the smoke from blowing over the city. Image credit: NASA.

The tropics are quiet
The remnants of Tropical Depression Five continue to bring heavy rain to portions of Southeast Louisiana today. Up to five inches of rain has fallen in regions near New Orleans. The GFS model predicts that the remains of TD 5 could move off the coast of Mississippi by the middle of next week and regenerate, but none of the other models is making this forecast. Both the GFS and ECMWF models are predicting that a tropical storm will develop off the coast of Africa by next Friday, August 20.

Donations urgently needed in Pakistan
The devastation wrought by the worst flooding in Pakistan's history requires a huge response by the international community. Wunderblogger Dr. Ricky Rood, author of our Climate Change Blog, has a friend working in Pakistan who underscored the desperate situation there:

This is the worst natural disaster in the history of Pakistan in terms of number of people and area affected. Although not as many people have been killed as in the 2005 earthquake, we have already nearly 900,000 displaced persons thus far just in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Crops are destroyed; shops, hotels, and other business have simply been swept away in Swat, which had just this year been cleared of Taliban and was on the way to recovery; and districts closer to Peshawar and parts of Peshawar district are still, or perhaps again after yesterday/today, under water. After the immediate emergency response, it will be years of rebuilding to replace what has been lost and to start to develop again. I know you have the power to control the weather, so if you cold give us a week or two without more rain at least we could keep the helicopters flying and give people a chance to go to their homes, recover what might still be there, set up tents if we can get enough to them, and start to clean up."

She gave the following recommendations for charities that do work in the flood-ravaged zone, and are effective at getting aid to those who need it the most:

Doctors Without Borders

The International Red Cross

MERLIN medical relief charity

The mobile giving service mGive allows one to text the word "SWAT" to 50555. The text will result in a $10 donation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Pakistan Flood Relief Effort.

She mentioned that it is better to send money to the organizations doing the relief work than to try to organize shipments of goods.

Jeff Masters

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The fat lady has not sung yet on killing the well in the GOM

Link

The annulus is now 100% proven to be leaky. BP has been in denial of this all along.

Now that the main part of the hole is filled with cement, any ideas on how to deal with what is really causing the leak, annular flow?

It's controlled but this will be a real mess to finally cap this thing....
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new map

Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12168
Quoting LADobeLady:


You probably have no idea where the seafood you're eating is coming from, most people don't. Most seafood in restaurants comes from China. Less than 1% of that is inspected. We all know what a bang up job China does on their products and safety. GOM seafood is safer than any in the country right now because it's being inspected so much. Research it....
wrong, I know where mine comes from, then again I know the people I buy from...and any restaurant I would think of buying fish from, same goes. I would not eat anything from chain restaurants so I have no worries. Now I do have concern, could that salmon I have been eating been coming from the gulf, hmmmm...those bastards saying it is Alaskan have been lying to me all along. When I eat sushi, I should have to worry if the aji, salmon, hamachi, japanese snapper, live scallops, o toro...I think not, but then again, I KNOW the people at the sushi restaurant and where they get their fish from.
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nothing that could possibly hurt you could survive grease at 350 degrees and water boiling at close to 250 degrees,so chill out and enjoy.personly I think the crap china injects is much worse for you


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3268. IKE
MJO updated today....




Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting StormJunkie:
LA, I know it's frustrating and I'm not saying it is "right"...But the truth is, that I am going to refrain from eating it; I'm certain I'm not the only one. I hate it for the local fisherman, trust me. I hate it for y'all as well cause I know it's aggravating, but at some point over the past 20 years I have lost faith in big government and big business.

And again, I just don't think there is anyway that they have collected enough samples from enough locations over a long enough period of time to truly analyze the impacts. When anyone sets out to conduct "testing"; if they are trying to prove a point, there is usually a way to do it.

Thank you, i guess time will tell but today that red fish on the grill is looking better and better lol
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Quoting charlestonscnanny:

It's a small world, as they say. Lived on Red Fox Run, moved a year ago to The Grove on Midland. How many trees did you loose? Did you stay in your home during Hugo? Was 1989 a La Nina or El Nino year?


Small world indeed - my folks built our first 'civilian' house on Quail Court - mmmm - must have been spring of '65.
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Current Drought Conditions

We'll take the potential xTD5 rain in Texas if NOLA doesn't want it.
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All the anti-biotics, steroids,pesticides, fertilizers used in and on "land" food are not exactly healthy.
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Quoting Patrap:
3249. gulfbreeze

No Kidding..fascinating, New Blog nit wit.

Jeff Masters.New Entry

LOL
LOL
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LA, I know it's frustrating and I'm not saying it is "right"...But the truth is, that I am going to refrain from eating it; I'm certain I'm not the only one. I hate it for the local fisherman, trust me. I hate it for y'all as well cause I know it's aggravating, but at some point over the past 20 years I have lost faith in big government and big business.

And again, I just don't think there is anyway that they have collected enough samples from enough locations over a long enough period of time to truly analyze the impacts. When anyone sets out to conduct "testing"; if they are trying to prove a point, there is usually a way to do it.
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3261. calder
It reminds me of the US ban on british beef long after the BSE outbreak had been contained and the beef was proven to be safe...
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3260. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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psst.. New Blog.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24199
3258. K8eCane
StormJunkie
Im with you on the seafood
And there are some ignorant people on here who are just as mean and hateful as the people they accuse
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Quoting Patrap:


U betcha, LOL

Some are like terriers on a Property Line.

Just ridiculous to post without any Link,study,or proof of WTH they think they talikng about.

But enjoy the Filet-o-Fish..

Please drive around.

LOL


LOL, Excellent point with the filet o fish!
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NEW BLOG!
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StormJunkie
With all that oil and Disp. that was pumped into the waters off the louisiana coast
do you think any of that made it's way in the currents around and up the East coast and would not that also effect your local seafood
did you get sick yet form eating any seafood
that might of made their way from the GOMEX
to your area in the East coast (just wondering)
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Quoting msgambler:
I can back it up. Boiled 200 lbs of shrimp and 150 lbs of crab for a family reunion yesterday. No hospital visits equals safe. Some people in this place need to get a freekin' grip.


Carcinogens take far longer than a single day to make themselves known. No, thanks; I live on the Gulf, but I won't be eating out of BP's toilet again anytime soon...
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And when someone asked if I was "ignorant and apathetic," I said, "I don't know and I don't care."
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exTD5 has turned from heading North, and most recently has been heading SouthSouthEast
- Date - - Time - - - - Location
14Aug 06amGMT - 32.5N86.5W
14Aug 12pmGMT - 32.8N85.8W
14Aug 06pmGMT - 33.0N85.5W
15Aug 12amGMT - 32.8N85.5W
15Aug 12amGMT - 32.6N85.3W *
15Aug 06amGMT - 32.5N85.5W
15Aug 06amGMT - 32.3N85.1W *
15Aug 12pmGMT - 31.8N84.9W
* Yep, the NHC has reevaluated&altered 12hours of exTD5's track
Copy&paste 32.0N87.3W, 32.5N86.5W, 32.8N85.8W, 33.0N85.5W-32.8N85.5W, 32.8N85.5W-32.5N85.5W, msy, apf into the GreatCircleMapper for a looksee at the old track (ending at 06amGMT)
Then copy&paste 32.0N87.3W, 32.5N86.5W, 32.8N85.8W, 33.0N85.5W-32.6N85.3W, 32.6N85.3W-32.3N85.1W, 32.3N85.1W-31.8N84.9W, msy, apf into the GreatCircleMapper for a looksee at the new track (ending at 12pmGMT)
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Quoting StormJunkie:


I was in my house in Quail Arbor. Yes, the bees and wasps were awful! It was the uprooting of all the pines and other trees that brought them out.

It's a small world, as they say. Lived on Red Fox Run, moved a year ago to The Grove on Midland. How many trees did you loose? Did you stay in your home during Hugo? Was 1989 a La Nina or El Nino year?
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Quoting Patrap:


Updated yesterday at 10:37 PM
This guy needs to get his facts right Ivan did not nit NO and the loop he has is all WRONG!!
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3248. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
05L/XX/XX
MARK
28.8N/87.9W
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Quoting msgambler:
Skeptical and ignorant are differant.


I'm ignorantly skeptical.
LOL
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pilotguy...Wasn't the government also "working" to make sure that deep water drilling was safe? I mean, I'm just wondering?

Pat...I'm not even sure what your point was...But the "sniff" test in that video was very impressive, I must admit.
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Quoting msgambler:
Skeptical and ignorant are differant.


I'm ignorantly skeptical.
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3244. Patrap
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3243. Patrap
Hurting people is art form for some.

This I can say with fact.

Easily.

FACEBOOK is a Godsend.

LOL
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3242. Patrap
Quoting msgambler:
Skeptical and ignorant are differant.


Indeed.

Thus the statement.
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Yeah, it's being "inspected"...And that's just fine. As for your assumption that I don't know where my seafood comes from, well now you are just talking with out knowledge...Born and raised in Charleston; I know where to find, buy, and eat local seafood. And I always ask. Once again, No I don't have any data and I'm not going looking for any. That was a lot of oil and chemicals. I'll stay on the side of caution. Thanks.

I understand that it's frustrating for y'all on so many levels; but don't take it out on me because I'm skeptical.


My apologies on assuming you didn't know where your seafood came from, most people don't ask...However, your blanket statements without doing any research hurts a lot of people. It is frustrating, because statements like yours are made out of ignorance.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
good morn bloggers so we still chasing ghosts
potent MLC ghosts now...of course our new resident expert is sending them both out to sea...
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Yeah, it's being "inspected"...And that's just fine. As for your assumption that I don't know where my seafood comes from, well now you are just talking with out knowledge...Born and raised in Charleston; I know where to find, buy, and eat local seafood. And I always ask. Once again, No I don't have any data and I'm not going looking for any. That was a lot of oil and chemicals. I'll stay on the side of caution. Thanks.

I understand that it's frustrating for y'all on so many levels; but don't take it out on me because I'm skeptical.
Skeptical and ignorant are differant.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
what the hell is "orly" ?
Not sure but I think he means oh, really ?
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3237. Patrap
Quoting msgambler:
I can back it up. Boiled 200 lbs of shrimp and 150 lbs of crab for a family reunion yesterday. No hospital visits equals safe. Some people in this place need to get a freekin' grip.


U betcha, LOL

Some are like terriers on a Property Line.

Just ridiculous to post without any Link,study,or proof of WTH they think they talikng about.

But enjoy the Filet-o-Fish..

Please drive around.

LOL

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Quoting pilotguy1:


Would you like to back that up with at least one fact? Or is it the fear on the unknown?
dispersants break down oil into "droplets", organisms eat/ingest droplets, fish/shellfish (food humans eat) eat/ingets organisms...need I say more. Its called the food chain.
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Quoting charlestonscnanny:

Yes I was in Summerville and the eye went over my apartment complex. The next morning we were outside and the bees and wasps were furocious. No power for 3 weeks but had a small generator and made coffee for our neighbors. Never forget the pics of the Ben Sawyer Bridge turned around and in the water. I'm getting a little anxious now but glad I am on WU getting updates. Good morning everyone.


I was in my house in Quail Arbor. Yes, the bees and wasps were awful! It was the uprooting of all the pines and other trees that brought them out.
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Nice and QUIET :)
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Quoting LADobeLady:


You probably have no idea where the seafood you're eating is coming from, most people don't. Most seafood in restaurants comes from China. Less than 1% of that is inspected. We all know what a bang up job China does on their products and safety. GOM seafood is safer than any in the country right now because it's being inspected so much. Research it....


Yeah, it's being "inspected"...And that's just fine. As for your assumption that I don't know where my seafood comes from, well now you are just talking with out knowledge...Born and raised in Charleston; I know where to find, buy, and eat local seafood. And I always ask. Once again, No I don't have any data and I'm not going looking for any. That was a lot of oil and chemicals. I'll stay on the side of caution. Thanks.

I understand that it's frustrating for y'all on so many levels; but don't take it out on me because I'm skeptical.
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3227. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting reedzone:
The models are flipping from USA to fish, sorry jason, it don't work that way. We need more days to observe. I have a good feeling if the first one recurves, the next one misses the trough and heads to the USA.
you do know anything past 72 hrs means nothing right there is nothing out there except for 05L THAT MAY REFORM
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Quoting StormJunkie:
pilotguy...Can someone back up that it IS safe? Seriously doubt it. There is just no way they have done enough testing to figure out what effects all the oil and chemicals have had. Not to mention, I'm on the E coast and like my local seafood just fine. So I'll stay on the side of caution.
I can back it up. Boiled 200 lbs of shrimp and 150 lbs of crab for a family reunion yesterday. No hospital visits equals safe. Some people in this place need to get a freekin' grip.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.