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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Here's what we're looking at this a.m.
The CMC develops a Cape Verde system by 84 hours out or so and regenerates TD5.

The GFS also develops a Cape Verde system by 120 hours out or so and regenerates TD5.

The ECMWF begins to develop a Cape Verde system by 144 hours out and regenerates TD5 by 96 hours.

The NOGAPS hugs TD5 really close to the coast, but strengthens it and develops a Cape Verde system by 72 hours. Both in the same timeframe.

That's pretty strong model support that somethings going to happen next week.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
Thanks Kyle and nrti. So it looks like that's the most interesting thing to keep an eye on the next day or two..Not that it's really that interesting at this point though.

Good to see both of you.
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1473. Relix
Only that wave off Africa? Wow.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
nrtiwlnvragn,has the wave the models develop been pounched as a test invest?


Not yet as of yesterday, excerpt from PREDICT pouch synopsis

The next AEW is slightly east of 10E, my eastern boundary for initiating pouches.


Maybe today
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Morning all

So any chance of anything spinning up off the E coast over the next couple days?


Mention of it in this morning's PREDICT Ensemble Discussion
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
1469. scott39
Goodmorning everyone, Does the reminants of XTD5 look like its going more N and E over Al. than the current models are forecasting?
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Morning all

So any chance of anything spinning up off the E coast over the next couple days?


Crown weather noted that the CMC, NOGAPS, and a few other models hinted at the possibility.
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Dont Look for any ins. rates to be going down any time soon if at all they tend to just restructure our policy's at a higer prem.
and inform us of the changes well i ant talking about this any more to day
thanks
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Morning all

So any chance of anything spinning up off the E coast over the next couple days?
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1464. DDR
Good morning all
The itcz refuses to behave,43mm of rain between 4-6am,more to come...

Trinidad met office

FOR THE PERIOD TODAY UNTIL MIDNIGHT:
TRINIDAD,TOBAGO AND THE Windward Islands
Partly cloudy becoming cloudy at times with
intermittent showers and the isolated afternoon
thundershower.

GUSTY WINDS, STREET AND FLASH FLOODING MAY OCCUR
IN HEAVY SHOWERS AND THUNDERSHOWERS
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nrtiwlnvragn,has the wave the models develop been pounched as a test invest?
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i'm sorry to break this everyone, but not every season is a 2005, nor if it isn't as active as 2005 is a 2009 repeat. We can pout, scream and cry on why this season will be active until we are blue in the face but the fact is, what will really matter in the end is that one or two storms that really do the damage. Take 2007 for example, most of the storms that year where fairly short lived and did relatively little damage, except 2. When you think of the 1992 or the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane seasons, do you think of those weak few storms or do you think of Andrew, Dean and Felix?
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Quoting HurricaneKyle:


orly?


ysrly

Scroll down to table 1. You'll see that our 3rd named storm happens on Aug 13 and our first hurricane happens on Aug 10 (climatologically). On the 13th we were exactly average for named storms, now we are below average by a fraction of a storm lol but still below average. Same with the amount of hurricanes.
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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
sailingallover you hit the nail on the head perfect analysis.And whats amazing is the ones who do what you said are ot just kids.Ive been in the eyewall of camille,fredrick,elena.georges and last but not least Katrina.I would like these wishcasters to experience them all.Might change thier tune.And these computers are the ruination of our society.In my business travels with ngss i have found the other countries who deal in our line of business point out that the reason we have fallen behind as a mass production nation is in thier opinion we have become a lazy society who on computers and other electronical devices.Look at me i am on the computer now when i should be outside doing yardwork lol.


Seems to me there are many reasons we've fallen behind other nations in many areas, but I highly doubt a reliance on computer technology has a single thing to do with it. Too much fast food, endless kowtowing to corporate interests, an overreliance on religion, conservativism, a foolish belief in a one-size-fits-all educational system, insanely expensive college tuitions (and their attendant student loans) keeping far too many bright minds from getting a degree, and so on, and so forth. Those and many others are the things holding us back...but not too much technology.
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1459. NotJFV
Quoting Patrap:
wunderground Employment Opportunities

Weather Underground is growing and looking for talented people to help.

The only Linux I know was the one of Charlie Brown.... darnit ....
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1458. weld
Where are all the storms? It was supposed to be a busy season. Hope the predictions for a busy season are wrong. Maybe my ridiculous insurance rates will go down if we have a weak season of storms.
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Quoting sailingallover:

I rarely comment about the board but..
There is a definite, and upsetting to those of us who will lose a lot, trend on this board to upcast and hitlandcast and disastercast.
It is amazing that people who say the season might be only average when it is currently below average as stated in the Blog the other day get pounded as down casters.


orly?
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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
sailingallover you hit the nail on the head perfect analysis.And whats amazing is the ones who do what you said are ot just kids.Ive been in the eyewall of camille,fredrick,elena.georges and last but not least Katrina.I would like these wishcasters to experience them all.Might change thier tune.And these computers are the ruination of our society.In my business travels with ngss i have found the other countries who deal in our line of business point out that the reason we have fallen behind as a mass production nation is in thier opinion we have become a lazy society who on computers and other electronical devices.Look at me i am on the computer now when i should be outside doing yardwork lol.
do you use a reel mower to cut your grass or a gas powered mower...it would not be considered lazy to use a gas powered mower (yes, it does make it easier) but instead a health choice. don't know how many people would survive mowing 1/4 acre or more with a reel mower in 90-100 degree temps without the need for a visit to the emergency room for heat stroke or the like...just sayin'
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Quoting sailingallover:

I rarely comment about the board but..
There is a definite, and upsetting to those of us who will lose a lot, trend on this board to upcast and hitlandcast and disastercast.
It is amazing that people who say the season might be only average when it is currently below average as stated in the Blog the other day get pounded as down casters.


I can't speak for others, but the ones I label "downcasters" or whatever are the ones who repeatedly shout "bust" when the season is barely underway, it's already at average, and all indications are that things will likely heat up considerably. Not wishing to be effected by a hurricane is a completely understandable thing...but predicting a below-average season despite all the signs simply because that's what one wants to happen is unscientifically silly, and probably a little dangerous.
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sailingallover you hit the nail on the head perfect analysis.And whats amazing is the ones who do what you said are ot just kids.Ive been in the eyewall of camille,fredrick,elena.georges and last but not least Katrina.I would like these wishcasters to experience them all.Might change thier tune.And these computers are the ruination of our society.In my business travels with ngss i have found the other countries who deal in our line of business point out that the reason we have fallen behind as a mass production nation is in thier opinion we have become a lazy society who on computers and other electronical devices.Look at me i am on the computer now when i should be outside doing yardwork lol.
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Nothing really happening.... Yet.



AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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1452. hydrus
The GEM model shows Ex-5 will be staying for a while..Link.
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1451. Thaale
Quoting KanKunKid:
I was just musing about the "scare" potential, or the effects of the "scare" potential of a strong Hurricane season. What I mean is: Usually Hollywood takes the scare factor of natural disasters and makes movies that use it for entertainment (sort of). There have been tornado movies, earthquake, flood, asteroid (threat of hitting the earth or actually doing so) climate gone crazy ("Day after Tomorrow") and so on. I can remember some movies where a hurricane or tropical storm was an inconveience as a part of the plot but it wasn't the "main" issue. I could understand if they still only made movies and TV shows in Hollywood, but they make 'em in Orlando and Miami now too.
Are hurricanes just not scary enough? Or did I miss a "hurricane movie"?

After 2004 and 2005, Hollywood came up with Category 6 and its sequel, Category 7, made-for-TV disaster flicks about killer storms ravaging those hurricane-vulnerable cities Las Vegas, Chicago, and Washington DC.

Apparently there's not enough of a scare factor in Miami, Houston, or New Orleans being hit yet again, or of course any non-US site. But Vegas - now that's hitting where it hurts.

Critics claimed certain aspects of the films lacked scientific plausibility. Then again, that didn't stop The Day After Tomorrow or An Inconvenient Truth.
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Quoting StormW:


Thanks!
any time, glad to be able to provide something to someone who provide the wealth of information you do.
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Quoting SAINTHURRIFAN:
Ike please post that chart you you made.We need it already.Jeff 9641 this hurricane your terrified of already where is it located ? Do you own stock in a animal safari in Africa? And if every system since june had developed that crw forecated we would be at 20 by now lol.The only conus threat of a system anytime soon would be the remains of td5 and i personally think it will just be some rain. not being a downcaster just a present caster.Once again 15 invests 3 named systems, still need 108 invests at that percentage to get 20 names. Ike post that chart please.Good morning aqua you are a sweetie. And for jeffs sake say prayers for his african safari.Ps ike post the chart.Have a blessed day.
more the point is that jeff manages to hype every cloud formation since June 1 so that it effects the state of Florida, usually in some mellow dramatic fashion. bets to let his comments go as they aren't going to change.

As to you invest to storm ratio comment, not unusual, its like making a statement as to the number of waves that traverse the Atlantic without formation...it is quite the norm that over 100 waves make the trip across the Atlantic each season, and how many of them form on average, maybe 10-15 or so.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Lol just how the blog works. If the system develops, you'll also note a lot more "I think it wobbled west!" than "I think it wobbled east!", and any shift west in the model runs is a "trend", while any shift east in the model runs means their "out to lunch". Lol.

I rarely comment about the board but..
There is a definite, and upsetting to those of us who will lose a lot, trend on this board to upcast and hitlandcast and disastercast.
It is amazing that people who say the season might be only average when it is currently below average as stated in the Blog the other day get pounded as down casters.
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Things should really start ramping up by this time next week. I know this season has been a tease so far but I think this time we really will see a hurricane before August ends, maybe even two.
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1445. Patrap
NEXSAT African Hi Rez Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129778
Quoting StormW:


Good morning!

Where is Indialantic located?
its a barrier island of Melbourne, Florida
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1441. hydrus
Quoting Cotillion:


Yes, but 2010 isn't an El Nino.

Just pointing out that the conditions are different.

In fact, it's hard to put 1969 as any 'analog' year or any reference point as it was such a peculiar season.
1969 was not busy in the first part of the season. Camille formed on the the 14th of August. Debbie on the 15th midway between Africa and the Antilles. Sea surface temps were above normal 1969 and in the same general areas. With the La-nina coming into the picture so fast, it was my belief that the ocean temperatures would play the most crucial role on the climate over the Atlantic Basin this hurricane season instead of the Southern Oscillation.
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Ike please post that chart you you made.We need it already.Jeff 9641 this hurricane your terrified of already where is it located ? Do you own stock in a animal safari in Africa? And if every system since june had developed that crw forecated we would be at 20 by now lol.The only conus threat of a system anytime soon would be the remains of td5 and i personally think it will just be some rain. not being a downcaster just a present caster.Once again 15 invests 3 named systems, still need 108 invests at that percentage to get 20 names. Ike post that chart please.Good morning aqua you are a sweetie. And for jeffs sake say prayers for his african safari.Ps ike post the chart.Have a blessed day.
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1438. Patrap
wunderground Employment Opportunities

Weather Underground is growing and looking for talented people to help.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129778
Morning all. storm we getting a synopsis soon,
Its like opening the big package Christmas morning!
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Quoting DVG:


None have hit Jax since Dora. Another interesting thing I looked up, No cat 4 or 5's have ever hit Jax. Only a couple cat 3's. ( Memory failing I could be off by one. )


However, a Cat. 4 did hit just up the road in Brunswick, GA in 1898.

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1433. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129778
1432. DVG
Quoting Jeff9641:
Good Morning IKE and StormW! IKE need fishy enthusiam from you today to get these storms away from me.


None have hit Jax since Dora. Another interesting thing I looked up, No cat 4 or 5's have ever hit Jax. Only a couple cat 3's. ( Memory failing I could be off by one. )
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Quoting jrweatherman:
It's funny how yesterday the GFS was taking the the future CV storm out to sea and people said it was too far out, it did not have good handle on the weather pattern and it should be ignored. Now this morning it has shifted to the Fl coast and everyone is excited that the GFS now predicts a FL landfall. What happened to to being too far out? Now that it takes it to Fl it has a good handle on the steering pattern? This low is still West Central Africa.


Lol just how the blog works. If the system develops, you'll also note a lot more "I think it wobbled west!" than "I think it wobbled east!", and any shift west in the model runs is a "trend", while any shift east in the model runs means their "out to lunch". Lol.
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1430. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
i be back in a bit
got to go some contacters here this am
got 3
3 bedroom apartments to be painted today
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Quoting StormW:
Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)

Something I found interesting in the article:

The next figure shows the US temperature anomalies as calculated by NASA's James Hansen (2001). The periods when the temperature anomalies are positive correspond almost exactly to when the PDO AMO changes between warm and cool phases.


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Is it more expensive to make a hurricane movie?
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1425. IKE
The next GFS may have it going to New England or the GOM or a Bermuda threat. It has to zero in and it takes awhile...
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860

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