Russian heat wave of 2010 due to natural causes: NOAA study

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on March 10, 2011

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The deadliest heat wave in human history--the 2010 Russian heat wave, which killed approximately 56,000 people last summer--was due to a natural atmospheric phenomenon often associated with weather extremes, according to a new NOAA study. The study, titled "Was There a Basis for Anticipating the 2010 Russian Heat Wave?" was accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, and used observations and computer climate models to evaluate the possible roles of natural and human-caused climate influences on the severity of the heat wave.


Figure 1. Daily Moscow temperature record from November 1 2009 to October 31 2010. Red and blue shaded areas represent departures from the long-term average (smooth curve) in Moscow. Temperatures significantly above the long-term average scorched Moscow for much of July and August. Image credit: NOAA.

Here's the body of the NOAA Press Release on the study:

"Knowledge of prior regional climate trends and current levels of greenhouse gas concentrations would not have helped us anticipate the 2010 summer heat wave in Russia," said lead author Randall Dole, deputy director of research at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Science Division and a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). "Nor did ocean temperatures or sea ice status in early summer of 2010 suggest what was to come in Russia."

Temperatures in the upper 90s to above 100°F scorched western Russia and surrounding areas from July through mid-August, 2010. In Moscow, the long-term daily average temperatures for July range from 65-67°F; in 2010, daily average July temperatures soared up to 87°. Daily average temperatures include the night. The exceptional heat over such a long duration, combined with poor air quality from wildfires increased deaths by at least 56,000 in Moscow and other parts of western Russia, according to Munich Reinsurance, and led to massive crop failures in the region.

While a contribution to the heat wave from climate change could not be entirely ruled out, if it was present, it played a much smaller role than naturally occurring meteorological processes in explaining this heat wave's intensity.

The researchers cautioned that this extreme event provides a glimpse into the region's future as greenhouse gases continue to increase, and the signal of a warming climate, even at this regional scale, begins to emerge more clearly from natural variability in coming decades. Climate models evaluated for the new study show a rapidly increasing risk of such heat waves in western Russia, from less than one percent in 2010, to 10 percent or more by the end of this century.

"It appears that parts of Russia are on the cusp of a period in which the risk of extreme heat events will increase rapidly," said co-author Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist, also from ESRL.

Dole called the intensity of this heat wave a "climate surprise," expected to occur only very rarely in Russia's current climate. With the possibility of more such events in the future, studying the Russian event better prepares scientists to understand climate phenomena that will affect the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

The team--led by Dole, Hoerling, and Judith Perlwitz from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder--sifted through long-term observations and results from 22 global climate models, looking for trends that might help explain the extraordinarily high temperatures in western Russia during the 2010 summer. They also ran atmospheric models that used observed global sea surface temperatures, Arctic sea ice conditions and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in 2010 to assess whether such factors might have contributed to the heat wave.

The heat wave was due primarily to a natural phenomenon called an atmospheric "blocking pattern," in which a strong high pressure system developed and remained stationary over western Russian, keeping summer storms and cool air from sweeping through the region and leading to the extreme hot and dry conditions. While the blocking pattern associated with the 2010 event was unusually intense and persistent, its major features were similar to atmospheric patterns associated with prior extreme heat wave events in the region since 1880, the researchers found.

They also found that western Russia has not experienced significant climate warming during the summer season over the 130 years from 1880-2009, despite significant warming of globally averaged temperatures during that time. Such a "warming hole" is not unique to that region and is not entirely unexpected, as the Earth is not uniformly warming and experiences distinct geographic areas that may be warmer or cooler than the average trend.

"We know that climate change is not taking place at the same rate everywhere on the globe," said Hoerling. "Western Russia is one of the parts of the world that has not seen a significant increase in summertime temperatures. The U.S. Midwest is another."

Dole compared his team's findings to trying to hear a quiet conversation underneath the roar of a noisy fan: a summertime signal due to climate change over western Russia was drowned out by the much larger climate "noise," or variability, resulting from natural processes.

Authors of the new paper, Was There a Basis for Anticipating the 2010 Russian Heat Wave? are Randall Dole1, Martin Hoerling1, Judith Perlwitz2, Jon Eischeid2, Philip Pegion2, Tao Zhang2, Xiao-Wei Quan2, Taiyi Xu2, and Donald Murray2. The team is part of a NOAA effort to better understand the underlying causes of high-impact weather and climate events, with the ultimate goal of better anticipating them.

NOAA Climate Attribution: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/



Figure 2. Smoke from fires in Russia on August 4, 2010 covered an area over 3,000 km (1860 miles) across. If the smoke were in the United States, it would have extended from San Francisco to Chicago. Visibility in Moscow dropped to 20 meters (0.01 miles) on August 4, and health officials warned that everyone, including healthy people, needed to take preventative measures such as staying indoors or wearing a mask outdoors. Image credit: NASA.

Commentary
Climate change has fundamentally altered Earth's atmosphere in significant ways; the additional heat and moisture in the atmosphere alters global sea surface temperature and atmospheric circulation patterns, making it difficult to disentangle to what degree an extreme weather event may be natural. The new NOAA attribution study on the Russian Heat Wave of 2010 is a reminder that the atmosphere is capable of generating extreme events on its own, without the aid of climate change. Attribution studies are difficult and take many months or years to complete. When an extreme weather event such as a great flood or deadly heat wave occurs, all we can say at the time is that climate change is loading the dice in favor of such extreme events. At the time of the Russian heat wave, I suspected that human-caused climate change was likely a significant factor, since a study of the world's previous deadliest heat wave, the 2003 European heat wave (Stott et al., 2004), found that human-caused climate change had increased the odds of that event occurring by a factor of four.

An important question to ask is if this type of natural atmospheric blocking event--where the jet stream gets "stuck" in particular contorted shape that contributes to extreme weather events--will increase or decrease in a future warmer climate. I asked climate modeling expert Dr. Ricky Rood, who writes our Climate Change blog, what the models say. His view was, "the physical basis, process, and cause and effect of blocking events are poorly understood in theory and observations and less well understood in models. It is very difficult problem, where the state-of-the-art understanding is low." So, we don't really know what will happen to blocking events in the future climate. Barnes and Hartman (2010) found that the computer models used in the 2007 [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report generally showed a decrease in the frequency of blocking events in a future climate. This occurs because the jet stream moves poleward in a future warming climate, and the jet stream is less prone to getting "stuck" in a blocking event when it is closer to the pole. The paper summarizes previous studies on the subject thusly: "Previous studies have found evidence for blocking frequency to decrease with global warming, although they disagree on whether the duration of extreme blocking events will increase or decrease [Sillmann and Croci-Maspoli, 2009; Matsueda et al., 2009]." So, the models give us reason to hope that blocking events leading to extreme weather will decrease in the future, though the uncertainty in this prediction is high. However, the climate models used in 2010 Russian heat wave study showed a rapidly increasing risk of heat waves in western Russia, from less than one percent in 2010, to 10 percent or more by the end of this century. The authors conclude that warming attributable to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations "is very likely to produce more frequent and extreme heat waves later this century," a central finding of the 2007 IPCC report.

References
Barnes, E.A., and D.L., Hartmann, 2010, "Influence of eddy-driven jet latitude on North Atlantic jet persistence and
blocking frequency in CMIP3 integrations", GRL 37, L23802, doi:10.1029/2010GL045700, 2010

Stott, P.A. , D.A. Stone, and M.R. Allen, 2004: Human Contribution to the European heat wave of 2003. Nature, 432(7017), 610-614

I'll have a new post on Saturday at the latest.

Jeff Masters

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NRL isn't updating, but the CIMSS imagery seems to indicate that 90L is close to storm status. It would be incredible to see a storm form in March.

Arlene?


Few minutes old...

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Model Error for the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Models for Low (Invest 90L)
A non-homogeneous comparison of early and late cycle models
Currently Selected Error Date: March 10, 2011 18:00 Z (Latest Available)


Storm Number: 90

Level of tropical cyclone development:
Low (Sometimes incorrect)

Isobar details:
The last closed isobar has a pressure of 1008 mb. (29.77 inHg | 1008 hPa) The radius of the last closed isobar is 150 nautical miles (173 miles | 278 kilometers).

System Depth: Deep
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Quoting atmoaggie:
*sigh* Polls.

polls are fun...they get to the point
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I never Poll on a Thursday as a rule.
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*sigh* Polls.
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poll removed
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Like I said to all, This storm is nearing naming status even though the NHC hasnt noticed it. This storm is going to be Mentioned by the TWO, and the formation of the system will follow 12 hours later.

Poll Time #1 Of 2011 Season:
Q1: Will 90L Form?
(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) IDK
(D) Give it 6 to 18 Hours
(E) It will form, but dissipate less than 20 hours after forming.

Q2: Will we see a storm form before the actual season starts?
(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) IDK
I think D and C




why do you keep posting that poll


if you keep posting it and posting it am going too re port it has spam but wont this yet
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Whoa. I didn't know about that...

PRELIMINARY STORM SURVEY INFORMATION AND SURVEYS ARE STILL ONGOING.

PARISH: ST TAMMANY PARISH
BEGINNING POINT: 4 WSW BUSH AT 543 AM CST 03/09/11
ENDING POINT 3 WSW BUSH AT 546 AM CST 03/09/11
RATING: EF-2 MAX ESTIMATED WINDS 115 MPH
PATH LENGTH: HALF OF A MILE
MAXIMUM WIDTH: 100 YARDS

SUMMARY OF DAMAGE: TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ALONG ESBON ROAD AND TRACKED
TO THE EAST NORTHEAST FOR ONLY HALF OF A MILE. ONE WOOD FRAME HOUSE
LIFTED OFF OF TIED DOWN CINDER BLOCK FOUNDATION AND DESTROYED.
OTHER
HOME HAD ABOUT HALF OF ROOFING DECK FROM BACKSIDE OF HOME REMOVED.
SOFTWOOD PINE TREES HAD ALL LIMBS REMOVED AND BARK MISSING FROM
PARTS OF TREES.

Apparently no injuries or fatalities, a good thing.

Much more from the other nadoes here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/product.php?site=lix&prod uct=PNS&issuedby=lix
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nvr mind link ain't working
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Like I said to all, This storm is nearing naming status even though the NHC hasnt noticed it. This storm is going to be Mentioned by the TWO, and the formation of the system will follow 12 hours later.

Poll Time #1 Of 2011 Season:
Q1: Will 90L Form?
(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) IDK
(D) Give it 6 to 18 Hours
(E) It will form, but dissipate less than 20 hours after forming.

Q2: Will we see a storm form before the actual season starts?
(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) IDK
I think D and C
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormchasher:
Honestly, Im not sure what to say.



What is that a picture of?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
My rain gauge read.. 5.5 inches of rain on Tuesday...it's kinda boggy down here....but a beautiful weekend coming up. I dare anyone to tell me different.:) "Satchmo"...nice
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335. JLPR2
Quoting stormchasher:
Honestly, Im not sure what to say.



Building convection nicely.
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Quoting stormchasher:
Honestly, Im not sure what to say.

Whoa...is that a fresh burst of convection...
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Honestly, Im not sure what to say.


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332. JLPR2
If this formed it would simply be crazy.


And it's deepening nicely, makes you wonder...
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Tropical Cyclone Model & Best Track Archive

Low (Invest 90L)


Friday, March 11, 2011 3:37 Z
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


That's my world right now, wonderful.
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From an Island close to 90L...


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Poll Time #1 Of 2011 Season:
Q1: Will 90L Form?
(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) IDK
(D) Give it 6 to 18 Hours
(E) It will form, but dissipate less than 20 hours after forming.

Q2: Will we see a storm form before the actual season starts?
(A) Yes
(B) No
(C) IDK
I think D and C
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327. JLPR2
The blogs seems a little more alive today.
Thank you 90L!
Ah! I guess I spoke too soon. XD
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Never get tired listening to him.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
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New Invest East of Brazil - 90Q





Previous Hur. formation in Brazil was:

Cyclone Catarina - Brazil - Formed March 24, 2004
Dissipated - March 28, 2004 (2004-03-29)
Highest winds 155 km/h (100 mph)
Lowest pressure 972[1] hPa (mbar)
Fatalities 3 -10 direct
Damage $350 million (2004 USD)

Cyclone Catarina is one of several informal names for a South Atlantic tropical cyclone that hit southeastern Brazil in late March 2004. Since Catarina formed in an area which has never, according to reliable records, experienced a tropical cyclone before, the damage was quite severe.

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Quoting traumaboyy:


Hey Kori!!


Going to be over your way April 15 thru 18!! Will buy you an adult beverage if you can make it out!!


Hey there!

I'll see what I can do. Hopefully I can make it. I'll let you know for sure when the time comes.
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Quoting Skyepony:
90L
Uh oh, Wonder wut it will look like when it gets a complete shot of 90L
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
same as it ever was


LOL, that's a fact! :) L8R >>>>

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Amazing footage from SDO. We had a pretty big R3 last night!

This link is Quicktime based.

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/gallery/assets/m ovies/Popping171_small.mov

Or pick your format here :)

http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/potw.php?v=item& id=45

Cool pic of the ISS and STS 133 >>


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Quoting traumaboyy:


LMFAO!!

Does nothing change in here???
same as it ever was
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting KoritheMan:
Doubt it actually develops. SHIPS doesn't seem to do much with it, either.

Still, it's remarkable that we even have such a system in March.


Hey Kori!!


Going to be over your way April 15 thru 18!! Will buy you an adult beverage if you can make it out!!
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Quoting NRAamy:
BTW, what happened to StormW?

AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! Where's my fork?!


LMFAO!!

Does nothing change in here???
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369
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Quoting Skyepony:
90L
that looks closed off nice feature i dont expect much other than interesting

these things sometimes mean an early start and having an invest in march is an early start
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting caneswatch:


Wonderful weather we're gonna have.


Did I read correctly that someone said you were mature?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25369

We will be able to study Jupiter's Hurricane (3 earth's size) with this satellite... (Hope it launches OK)

NASA's Jupiter-Bound Spacecraft Taking Shape in Denver

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011) %u2014 NASA's Juno spacecraft is currently undergoing environmental testing at Lockheed Martin Space Systems near Denver. The solar-powered Juno spacecraft will orbit Jupiter's poles 33 times to find out more about the gas giant's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. The launch window for Juno from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida opens Aug. 5, 2011.

In its present form, the spacecraft is fully assembled and all instruments have been integrated. A photograph of the fully assembled spacecraft is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/multimedia/ juno20110307i.html

Link
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Doubt it actually develops. SHIPS doesn't seem to do much with it, either.

Still, it's remarkable that we even have such a system in March.
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Wow a 90L, that caught me off guard....
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Wow...47 down here in West Palm!



Wonderful weather we're gonna have.
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Wow...47 down here in West Palm!

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305. Skyepony (Mod)
90L
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37359
Quoting sunlinepr:
Interesting: Banana Peel Water Filter? Should be in the market soon...



Banana Peels Get a Second Life as Water Purifier

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011) — To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels -- which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants -- scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals. Their report, which concludes that minced banana peel performs better than an array of other purification materials, appears in ACS's journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Gustavo Castro and colleagues note that mining processes, runoff from farms, and industrial wastes can all put heavy metals, such as lead and copper, into waterways. Heavy metals can have adverse health and environmental effects. Current methods of removing heavy metals from water are expensive, and some substances used in the process are toxic themselves. Previous work has shown that some plant wastes, such as coconut fibers and peanut shells, can remove these potential toxins from water. In this report, the researchers wanted to find out whether minced banana peels could also act as water purifiers.

The researchers found that minced banana peel could quickly remove lead and copper from river water as well as, or better than, many other materials. A purification apparatus made of banana peels can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-binding properties, they note. The team adds that banana peels are very attractive as water purifiers because of their low cost and because they don't have to be chemically modified in order to work.

The authors acknowledge funding from the São Paulo Research Foundation

Link

That's cool
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could 90L be are 1st name storm of 11
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Interesting: Banana Peel Water Filter? Should be in the market soon...



Banana Peels Get a Second Life as Water Purifier

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011) — To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels -- which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants -- scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals. Their report, which concludes that minced banana peel performs better than an array of other purification materials, appears in ACS's journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Gustavo Castro and colleagues note that mining processes, runoff from farms, and industrial wastes can all put heavy metals, such as lead and copper, into waterways. Heavy metals can have adverse health and environmental effects. Current methods of removing heavy metals from water are expensive, and some substances used in the process are toxic themselves. Previous work has shown that some plant wastes, such as coconut fibers and peanut shells, can remove these potential toxins from water. In this report, the researchers wanted to find out whether minced banana peels could also act as water purifiers.

The researchers found that minced banana peel could quickly remove lead and copper from river water as well as, or better than, many other materials. A purification apparatus made of banana peels can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-binding properties, they note. The team adds that banana peels are very attractive as water purifiers because of their low cost and because they don't have to be chemically modified in order to work.

The authors acknowledge funding from the São Paulo Research Foundation

Link
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Quoting washingtonian115:
For some odd reason I thought you were older.Maybe that's due to the fact that your very mature.I wish I could go back to my teen years....the 80's.....nothing compares...


You could easily tell I was one of the most mature at my high school. But yes, nothing compares to being a teenager. Friends, crushes, the countless things that happen at high school. Still, you have two of those three after high school and into adulthood, but it's always priceless when you're a teenager.
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XX/INV/90L
MARK
33N/18W
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting caneswatch:


I always thought the pic was extremely amusing. I'm 18, i'm still enjoying being young LOL
For some odd reason I thought you were older.Maybe that's due to the fact that your very mature.I wish I could go back to my teen years....the 80's.....nothing compares...
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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.