First 100°F Temperature on Record in the Baltics

By: Christopher C. Burt , 7:24 PM GMT on August 05, 2014

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First 100°F Temperature on Record in the Baltics

The 37.8°C (100.0°F) temperature observed at Ventspils, Latvia on August 4th was the first time on record that a reading of 100°F has been measured in any of the Baltic nations (Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania). The heat wave has also affected Poland, Belarus, and Sweden where a massive forest fire, said to be the worst in the nation's modern history, rages out of control.



It has been a warm past month in Ventspils, Latvia with 10 out of the past 30 days reaching 30°C (86°F) or more. The normal daily maximum temperature for July and early August is just 19°C (66°F). The 36.6°C (97.9°F) on August 3rd was a new Latvian national record only to be shattered the following day with the 37.8°C (100.0°F) reading. Climate table from OGIMET.

The record was especially unusual since Ventspils (also known as Ventspili) is a coastal location situated right along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The previous Latvian record of 36.4°C (97.5°F) on August 4, 1943 (same date!) was measured at Daugavpils which is an inland location near the border of Belarus and where hotter temperatures might be expected vis-à-vis a coastal location. The reason for the excessive temperature at Ventspils, this time around, was a strong offshore flow caused by a high-pressure system centered over northeast Russia and Finland.



A strong surface high pressure centered over Finland and northeast Russia (bottom map) along with a 210-meter positive height anomaly (top map) created a southeast (offshore) flow over the Baltic nations early this week leading to the record temperatures at the Latvian coastal location of Ventspils. Maps of 12Z ECMWF models for August 4th courtesy of Nick Wiltgen at The Weather Channel.

Aside from Latvia, record or near-record temperatures have also been observed in Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, and Sweden. The capital city of Minsk in Belarus broke its all-time heat record on August 3rd with a 35.6°C (96.1°F) reading which surpassed its former record of 35.0°C (95.0°C). The top temperature in all of Belarus was 36.5°C (97.7°F) at Ma’rina Gorka (also on August 3rd) which was short of the national record of 38.9°C (102.0°F) set at Gomel on August 8, 2010. In Lithuania it reached 36.6°C (97.9°F) at Klaipeda on August 3rd (short of the national record of 37.5°C/99.5°F set at Zarasai on July 30, 1994) and in Estonia top honor went to Niqula with 33.5°C (92.3°F) on August 4th, well short, however, of the national record of 35.6°C (96.1°F) at Voru on August 11, 1992. The heat wave has also affected Poland where temperatures as high as 35.4°C (95.7°F) were observed at Ustka on August 3rd.

Late word from blog reader Blair Trewin (Australian Bureau of Meteorology) notes that the Swedish met service (SMHI) has reported at temperature of 35.1°C (95.2°F) at the town of Falun on August 4th and that this is the hottest August temperature observed in Sweden since 1992. Sweden’s national record is 38.0°C (100.4°F) set at Ultuna on July 9, 1933 and also at Malilla on June 29, 1947. A massive 15,000-hectare (37,000 acre) forest fire in central Sweden, described in the press as “the largest in modern [Swedish] history” is threatening the town of Norberg (population 4,500). One death has so far been attributed to the conflagration.



This large forest fire in central Sweden is threatening the evacuation of the entire population of the town of Norberg (population 4,500). Photo credited to TT, ‘The Local: Sweden’s news in English’.

KUDOS: Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera, Blair Trewin, and Nick Wiltgen for their contributions to the data and blog reader barbamz for news about the Swedish fire.

Christopher C Burt
Weather Historian





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21. JariKolehmainen
7:42 PM GMT on August 15, 2014
We had an exceptionally long heatwave in Finland, too.

We had 38 consecutive hot days (July 6th - August 12th, 2014) somewhere in Finland with temperatures over 25.0 degrees Celsius (77.0 degrees Fahrenheit). This is the equal number of days as the national record in 1973 (also 38 consecutive hot days).

We got the new national record of 26 consecutive hot days (over 25.0 C / 77.0 F, July 17th - August 11th, 2014) at individual weather stations in the city of Kouvola (Utti weather station) and in the municipality of Hattula (Lepaa weather station). Totally there have been 43 hot days (not consecutive days) in Kouvola (Utti) in the summer 2014. The national record of consecutive hot days at an individual weather station is 48 days (Utti, Kouvola in 2010).

Diring this summer 2014 the ground temperature has reached at least 30.0 degrees Celsius (86.0 degrees Fahrenheit) in Finland on a total of 22 days. This is a new national record after 1961 (all data collected in Finland since 1961 is digitally available).

The ground temperature in August exceeded 30.0 degrees Celsius (86.0 degrees Fahrenheit) in Finnish Lapland for the first time. It was measured 31.2 degrees Celsius (88.16 degrees Fahrenheit) at Ivalo Airport on August 5th, 2014.

For more details see http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/press-release/1001 4539, please.

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20. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
7:58 PM GMT on August 08, 2014
weatherhistorian has created a new entry.
19. MichalBogar
10:19 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
Actually I am from Slovakia and We have similar problems with some oficial weather stations situated on airports. For example Sliac (11903) is one of these problematic stations. On June 10th there was measured the highest temperature in Slovakia this year (on synop stations) 35,8 °C. But a group of enthusiasts, who are familiar with situation send through the social media questions to the oficial slovakian met service (SHMÚ) about correctness of that data.
Reaction of SHMU (only a part of it):
...For the past two years, however, close surroundings of the weather station changed, which had some negative impact on the representativeness of the values ​​of some meteorological elements measured. These changes consisted in the construction of the asphalt parking and a new airport terminal building. Implementation of the above-mentioned construction was not consulted with SHMÚ, it means that we did not get an opportunity to express whether the construction will not affect the meteorological measurements....
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18. maxcrc
5:18 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
Thanks. Indeed. I was just thinking about that. I checked carefully the hour by hour temperature/dew point relationship and my conclusion is that the instrument itself works correctly, otherwise under these particular conditions of air subsidence and overheating , we would see an abnormal relationship between these variables.
So, the thermometer is well calibrated as I had already stated in my previous message, the screen also should be ok.
We go back to the first point: Local environment conditions. That opens many doors.
Not all local environment conditions make a reading acceptable and representative.
If there is a non meteorological incident like a fire, the station can correctly report a temperature of 50C ....i mean the air gets so hot and the station reports the temperature correctly, but this doesn't make the reading acceptable because it would be influenced by a non meteorological event.
In urban areas there are certain special conditions to keep, such distances from object depending on their size and volume, and even material and color ! yes, color, and even shape, because the reflection of sun depends on all these factors. There are lots of great studies made by Singapore Meteorology Office , since it is an equatorial city state, they really have to fight with this problem. Then, we have non permanent objects like containers and ships which might be located at a certain time at a too close distance from the instrument.
The Latvian guy has given a normal but not a specific answer to this case. He said the obvious. Ok, the station is ok. But I didn't read about they have made sure in the past days such temporarely "incidents" or "objects" were not affecting the "local environment". There are human made but permanent factors which become part of the local environment like urbanization,use of soil , deforestation, creation of artificial lakes, etc.... but there are others factors which might be affect in a not acceptable way a meteorological observation. The Latvian guy has not answered fully our concerns in this case.
I want to repeat I only see the possibility of the record not to be 100% acceptable, but not my certain about it. Phisically, that temperature could have been attained. Sometimes , by chance (the law of the probability says it can happen) the "center" or the most affected point of a heat wave (in this case) matches with the area where a meteorological station is located. It might have happened in this case. But to say Latvians have dissipated all our doubts with that statement, they have not. I will keep an eye to that station in the future.
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17. DocNDswamp
4:53 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
re: 15. MichalBogar 9:33 AM CDT on August 07, 2014

Thanks for translating / posting the LEGMC statement to the discussion.

Cheers, all.


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16. MichalBogar
2:34 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
Official statement from Latvian Met service.

Member Since: February 25, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 7
15. MichalBogar
2:33 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
This is only translator work from the original statement in Latvian language:

http://www.meteo.lv/jaunumi/laika-apstakli/latvij as-vides-geologijas-un-meteorologijas-centrs-apsti prina-sasniegt?id=778&cid=100

Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre approves achieved record heat Latvian Ventspils
Published: 08/06/2014
Home / News / Weather
Print
In the context of media over reported on the measurement inaccuracy or incorrect setting of maximum air temperature Latvian meteorological observation stations - both in Ventspils and Daugavpils Skriveri or any other - immediately say that everywhere LEGMC served by stations are calibrated and certified used modern equipment, so and there can be no doubt about the objectivity of measurements. Equipment fixed temperature is precise and defined by the internationally accepted methodology.

Secondly, can not disagree that the observed temperature of a particular place, of course, affected by local conditions and the specific moment in time and geographical location. And that's just normal. But at the same time, it did not affect the results of the fixed - at a given moment Ventspils station recorded extremely high temperature - 37.8 degrees Celsius, which is the highest observed temperature observations Latvian history. Similarly, in the extremely low temperatures in winter - most often they are fixed Zosēnu meteorological station, where such temperatures also influence the formation of local conditions - the wind direction, the station altitude above sea level, other local factors. But this in no way does not remove the fact that this temperature has been.

Ventspils observation station since 1948 in the city of Ventspils, Ventspils port area, close to the Baltic Sea and the Venta River. Thus, at different wind directions temperatures, as well as other hydro-meteorological element values ​​will undoubtedly be affected by local environmental conditions. However, the observation station Ventspils main functions are the provision of information to compile weather forecasts and warn of dangerous meteorological phenomena, as well as weather information in the successful operation of the port. Great city meteorological station of one of the most important functions is to direct urban population information and warning about dangerous metrological phenomena, so it is logical and appropriate that these stations are located in urban areas. And in this case - the meteorological stations of their work is done, that is to say, city dwellers were an alert for extreme high temperature Ventspils city and that the city's residents and visitors will be taken into account - the thermometer bar reaches almost 38-degree mark.

Ideally, cities should have the same number of observation stations, which provide information on the different meteorological conditions in urban environments, which are often very different. The current situation could serve as a basis for future forecasts and warnings for the compilation extreme heat conditions in Ventspils and other people living in cities.



Additional information:

Roland Ostrovsky,

Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre

Public Relations Consultant
Member Since: February 25, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 7
14. maxcrc
9:56 AM GMT on August 07, 2014
Quoting 13. DocNDswamp:

re: 12. maxcrc 5:22 PM CDT on August 06, 2014

Hi Max, appreciate your response, thanks.
I saw those low dewpoints dipping near 8C at UMRW yielded 16-17% RH range (or even briefly drier) during the record high period. Also agree it may well be a valid record.

The one thing I'd like to see clarified is the specific site location so we can better judge potential surrounding influences, for even the source I quoted from stated that despite utilizing 7 official data sources - "The possible locations for this site are up to 2.1 miles away. This makes it possible that the location chosen is incorrect. The source which most closely matches the consensus is chosen."

Which, of course, would either bolster the concerns I was illustrating or render them moot, lol.
- Rand



The best thing is to contact the Latvia Met. Service and expose our doubts. If we can get few pictures of the station and its surroundings , we can have a better idea about this. Of course , there is also a possibility of a not 100% reliable screen which might cause a slight overheating inside it during stress conditions. In this case, picture or not picture we can't see it without testing the station.
Than, about the instrument/thermometer itself, i think it is ok, because in case of a bad calibration we would note irregularities even during normal conditions.
With few photographs we could have an idea about the "environmental (exposure) factor" .
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13. DocNDswamp
3:48 AM GMT on August 07, 2014
re: 12. maxcrc 5:22 PM CDT on August 06, 2014

Hi Max, appreciate your response, thanks.
I saw those low dewpoints dipping near 8C at UMRW yielded 16-17% RH range (or even briefly drier) during the record high period. Also agree it may well be a valid record.

The one thing I'd like to see clarified is the specific site location so we can better judge potential surrounding influences, for even the source I quoted from stated that despite utilizing 7 official data sources - "The possible locations for this site are up to 2.1 miles away. This makes it possible that the location chosen is incorrect. The source which most closely matches the consensus is chosen."

Which, of course, would either bolster the concerns I was illustrating or render them moot, lol.
- Rand
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
12. maxcrc
10:22 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
Quoting 11. DocNDswamp:

Regarding Ventspil Latvia's record high 100F Aug 4, it's a case that warrants investigating the devil in the details - note weather station UMRW / 26314 is located within the harbor complex, 3m elevation%u2026 It is informative that Ventspils other weather station - Ventspils Int Airport EVVA - located approx 2.6 miles south of UMRW harbor station, had a peak Aug 4 reading of 96.8F, which is in good agreement with most other stations over the region, although UMRW is apparently considered Ventspils official station%u2026 Anomalously hot regionally any way one wants to view this but the headline "First 100%uFFFDF Temperature on Record in the Baltics" is bound to pique ones interest. So let's dig deeper to determine if caveats apply.

Synop Information for UMRW (26314) in Ventspils, Latvia has map of best-estimate of station location at the harbor, exact location not resolved but obviously within an industrial setting of rock, concrete, steel from the Google-map view%u2026 Also click / view the available photos ("Find nearby photographs"), esp #2, #5, #6, #14, #16, #18, so forth, etc - to put this weather station location in context. Photo #19 does appear to show a radar tower, perhaps an observation site (box-like similar to a Stevenson screen?) but is not identified as UMRW / 26314.

Compare the details of the google map provided above with this one from most current activity at the port from the Fleetmon Vessel activity site, showing current ship / tanker traffic near or anchored at Ventspils harbor surrounding UMRW weather station. Click / zoom port map.

Given the prevailing hot weather conditions with strong, subsident ridge providing light E / SE winds (offshore flow for Ventspil), there has to be consideration addressing the high probability of heat being intensified by local surrounds, both from the increasingly urbanized city the light wind flow may have conducted and any large container ships / oil tankers anchored nearby. If those ships were anchored in position on Aug 3-4 as currently shown on Aug 6th, not only are ship's steel maintaining heat along with the abundant concrete, but we might also consider blocked airflow around this weather station - which was minimal at best under stagnant conditions. Easy to see how this station lying within a highly industrialized setting could read a few degrees warmer to attain that lofty 100F reading than one even slightly better sited a few miles away.

Note - 1st website's graphic observation charts (7 day, 14 day, etc) not loading but the CSV data files download correctly. Scroll down for links to other Latvian station data including nearby EVVA Int airport, which has higher frequency observation sampling. Another link to Ventspils UMRW data courtesy Mundomanz.com site here.




Thanks. Great analysis. I was also slightly suspicious about these "overperformances". Nevertheless, other Latvian stations like Rucava had surpassed the old national record . Rucava temperature of 36.5C is in line with the near Lithuanian town of Klaipeda 36.6C beyond the border.
A slight overheating in the Vetspils station is a possibility,but not a matter of fact. The dew points at the record site appears to have dropped to lower levels than the ones at the airport site. It's possible that the particular area had "enjoyed" the brunt of the subsidence effect , with notable air compression towards the lower levels of atmosphere and consequent more overheating. The best thing to do, specially when such an important national record is announced , is that Latvians do their homework and check carefully the station's location and its environment properly and have a further test to the station under stress conditions. Under more normal atmospheric conditions, with sea breeze and weaker irradiation, we might not detect any problem in the instrument, but an eventual problem can become more evident under certain "stress conditions" like the one which occurred in the past days. But,again,this is a good supposition, but not a certain, because looking at the column of air and its temperature/dew points it was not phisically impossible to attain that temperature. Latvians should do their proper tests so we can have a better idea if this record is reliable or not.
Member Since: February 9, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 176
11. DocNDswamp
8:50 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
Regarding Ventspil Latvia's record high 100F Aug 4, it's a case that warrants investigating the devil in the details - note weather station UMRW / 26314 is located within the harbor complex, 3m elevation… It is informative that Ventspils other weather station - Ventspils Int Airport EVVA - located approx 2.6 miles south of UMRW harbor station, had a peak Aug 4 reading of 96.8F, which is in good agreement with most other stations over the region, although UMRW is apparently considered Ventspils official station… Anomalously hot regionally any way one wants to view this but the headline "First 100°F Temperature on Record in the Baltics" is bound to pique ones interest. So let's dig deeper to determine if caveats apply.

Synop Information for UMRW (26314) in Ventspils, Latvia has map of best-estimate of station location at the harbor, exact location not resolved but obviously within an industrial setting of rock, concrete, steel from the Google-map view… Also click / view the available photos ("Find nearby photographs"), esp #2, #5, #6, #14, #16, #18, so forth, etc - to put this weather station location in context. Photo #19 does appear to show a radar tower, perhaps an observation site (box-like similar to a Stevenson screen?) but is not identified as UMRW / 26314.

Compare the details of the google map provided above with this one from most current activity at the port from the Fleetmon Vessel activity site, showing current ship / tanker traffic near or anchored at Ventspils harbor surrounding UMRW weather station. Click / zoom port map.

Given the prevailing hot weather conditions with strong, subsident ridge providing light E / SE winds (offshore flow for Ventspil), there has to be consideration addressing the high probability of heat being intensified by local surrounds, both from the increasingly urbanized city the light wind flow may have conducted and any large container ships / oil tankers anchored nearby. If those ships were anchored in position on Aug 3-4 as currently shown on Aug 6th, not only are ship's steel maintaining heat along with the abundant concrete, but we might also consider blocked airflow around this weather station - which was minimal at best under stagnant conditions. Easy to see how this station lying within a highly industrialized setting could read a few degrees warmer to attain that lofty 100F reading than one even slightly better sited a few miles away.

Note - 1st website's graphic observation charts (7 day, 14 day, etc) not loading but the CSV data files download correctly. Scroll down for links to other Latvian station data including nearby EVVA Int airport, which has higher frequency observation sampling. Another link to Ventspils UMRW data courtesy Mundomanz.com site here.

Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 94 Comments: 4794
10. cRRKampen
2:03 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
First 30+ for the month of August in the Norwegian province of Finnmark: http://www.yr.no/nyheter/1.11864914 (this was yesterday, 5th of August).
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9. maxcrc
12:03 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
Polish climatologist Piotr Djakow added that although the 37.8C is a new record for the 3 baltic countries, there was a higher temperature on the Baltic Sea back in August 1992, with 38.0C being recorded on the Polish coast at Kolobrzeg.
August 1992 saw a quite similar heat wave to this one, with a slightly different trayectory, but with similar characteristics.
August witnessed the national record of Estonia (which survived this heat wave), the absolute record of Kaliningrad and a temperature peak of 36.1C in Sweden.
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8. barbamz
10:23 AM GMT on August 06, 2014
Swedish Forest Fire Prevented From Spreading
Arrival of Special Planes Comes as Efforts Shift to Extinguishing Blaze
WSJ, August 6, 2014
STOCKHOLM—A break in the weather and intense efforts by firefighters helped prevent a massive forest fire raging in Sweden from spreading, authorities said Wednesday.
Erik Bergman, spokesman for Västmanland County, said the fire remains out of control but is no longer growing and that firefighting efforts have shifted from preventing the flames reaching new areas to extinguishing the blaze. Weather conditions Wednesday look favorable with little wind, clouded skies and the possibility of a light rain. ...
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7. MichalBogar
7:58 AM GMT on August 06, 2014
The 34,5C temperature observed at Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania on August 4th is probably one of the highest august temperature in this town.
ftp://ftp.atdd.noaa.gov/pub/GCOS/WMO-Normals/RA-V I/LU/26730.TXT
http://ogimet.com/cgi-bin/gsynres?ind=26730&lang= en&decoded=yes&ndays=2&ano=2014&mes=08&day=05&hora =06
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6. Christopher C. Burt , Weather Historian
3:43 AM GMT on August 06, 2014
Where are you posting from?

Quoting 3. mfount:

Well done, but please send a little heat our way.
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3. mfount
1:25 AM GMT on August 06, 2014
Well done, but please send a little heat our way.
Member Since: February 6, 2003 Posts: 1 Comments: 18
2. barbamz
9:52 PM GMT on August 05, 2014
Thanks Dr. Weatherhistorian :-)

Here's a recent (short) video of the swedish wildfires



-------------------------------------

And here's a promo video of Ventspils/Latvia which set the new heat record. Quite few would visit this area (comparatively), so it may be interesting what it looks like.



Today's temperatures in the Baltic countries, still very high:


Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 58 Comments: 6261
1. pcola57
9:40 PM GMT on August 05, 2014
Well done Chris..
Thank you.. :)
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About weatherhistorian

Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.