Saturday, March 12, 2011
Russian heat wave of 2010 not caused by global warming
We mentioned this previously on WUWT, now it is officially peer reviewed and accepted. Maybe this will be a lesson to those in the MSM and eco blogland who immediately jump on every newsworthy weather event, and with no supporting evidence, attribute it to “global warming”, “climate change”, or “climate disruption” or whatever the marketing phrase of the day is. The factual science is in, and the answer that we knew all along? To paraphrase James Carville; It’s the weather, not climate, stupid.
The deadly Russian heat wave of 2010 was due to a natural atmospheric phenomenon often associated with weather extremes, according to a new NOAA study. And while the scientists could not attribute the intensity of this particular heat wave to climate change, they found that extreme heat waves are likely to become increasingly frequent in the region in coming decades.
The research team drew from scientific observations and computer climate models to evaluate the possible roles of natural and human-caused climate influences on the severity of the heat wave. The study was accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.
“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.