It’s so hot the Washington Post almost gets the story right!
A heat wave of unprecedented intensity has brought the world’s largest country its hottest temperature in history:
Globally, NOAA just reported that June is the fourth month in a row of record global temperatures, and the first half of 2010 is on a record pace. This is all the more powerful evidence of human-caused warming “because it occurs when the recent minimum of solar irradiance is having its maximum cooling effect,” as a recent must-read NASA paper notes.
If the planet as a whole is busting global records, you wouldn’t be surprised if national temperature records were dropping like overheated flies. And they are, as uber-meteorologist Jeff Masters reported last week:
A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity brought the hottest temperatures in recorded history to six nations in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, in June 2010….
The heat was the most intense in Kuwait, which recorded its hottest temperature in history on June 15 in Abdaly, according to the Kuwait Met office. The mercury hit 52.6°C (126.7°F). Kuwait’s previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. Temperatures reached 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital of Kuwait City on June 15, 2010.
Iraq had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq’s previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu’aybah.
Saudi Arabia had its hottest temperature ever on June 22, 2010, with a reading of 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities.
In Africa, Chad had its hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.6°C (117.7°F) at Faya. The previous record was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961.
Niger tied its record for hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.1°C (116.8°F) at Bilma. That record stood for just one day, as Bilma broke the record again on June 23, when the mercury topped out at 48.2°C (118.8°F). The previous record was 47.1°C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma.
Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history on June 25 when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.
The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperature in history on June 25, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C–110.8°F–set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan….
All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO.) The source for the previous all-time records listed here is the book Extreme Weather by Chris Burt. According to Mr. Burt, the only other time as many as six nations set their all-time highest temperature marks in a single month was during the European heat wave of August 2003.
Then on Monday, Masters reported on the brutal record-smashing heat wave hitting Russia:
A heat wave of unprecedented intensity has brought the world’s largest country its hottest temperature in history. On July 11, the ongoing Russian heat wave sent the mercury to 44.0°C (111.2°F) in Yashkul, Kalmykia Republic, in the European portion of Russia near the Kazakhstan border. The previous hottest temperature in Russia (not including the former Soviet republics) was the 43.8°C (110.8°F) reading measured at Alexander Gaj, Kalmykia Republic, on August 6, 1940. The remarkable heat in Russia this year has not been limited just to the European portion of the country–the Asian portion of Russia also recorded its hottest temperature in history this year, a 42.3°C (108.1°F) reading at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record for the Asian portion of Russia was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004….
Moscow on track for its hottest July in history
According to the Russian weather service, the first fourteen days of July in Moscow averaged 6.2°C above average. The record hottest July, in 1938, had temperatures averaging 5.3°C above average, so Moscow is on track to set the record for its warmest July in history. The past four days, Moscow has averaged 8.2°C above average. The heat wave peaked on July 17, when the mercury hit 35.0°C (95°F). Moscow’s hottest temperature of all-time is 36.6°C (98.2°F), set in August, 1920. With the wunderground.com forecast for Moscow calling for high temperatures between 31 – 38°C (88 – 100°F) for the coming week, no end to the heat wave is in sight. Weather records for Moscow extend back to 1879.
Russia’s remarkable heat wave has led to a state of emergency to be declared for 19 of Russia’s 83 provinces, and record number of Russians have been drowning in swimming accidents as they take to the water to escape the heat. Over 1200 Russians drowned in June, with another 233 dying between July 5 and 12. The heat has also created dangerous levels of air pollution in Moscow, and severely impacted agriculture.
The Xinhua News Agency reports, “Heatwave drives Russians to the verge of panic purchases”:
Russia may face the artificially created shortage of basic foods because of the widespread rumors that current heatwave destroyed crops across the country, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Tuesday….
According to the Russia’s Agricultural Ministry, by mid-July the crops have been destroyed on 9.6 million hectares of 48 million hectares under crop. This year’s harvest forecast has been lowered by 5 million tons, to 85 million.
Still, Russia has significant grain stocks, so there is no actual short-term shortage of food — for now, that is (see Ponzi redux: Scientific American asks “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?)
Globally, Masters explains the unprecedented nature of the global heatwaves:
As I commented in Friday’s post, six nations in Asia and Africa set new all-time hottest temperature marks in June. Two nations, Myanmar and Pakistan, set all-time hottest temperature marks in May, including Asia’s hottest temperature ever, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan. Last week’s record in Russia makes nine countries this year that have recorded their hottest temperature in history, making 2010 the year with the most national extreme heat records.
That’s not only news, it is precisely what you would expect in what is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, which itself is the inevitable result of the long-term human-caused warming trend.
The Washington Post almost gets the story right, except for a gratuitous nod to false-balance in the lede:
First half of 2010 sets heat records
Just as climate skeptics cited this winter’s snowstorm as evidence that global warming was overhyped, some environmental activists might be tempted to point to this summer’s heat waves to bolster their case.
Instead, they’re pointing to a less-anecdotal measurement: The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that the first six months of 2010 are the warmest on record, both in terms of atmospheric data and in combined atmospheric/ocean readings.
In some cases the atmospheric readings for some of the first six months of the year are between 1.8 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above what they were in previous years. And on top of that, last week Arctic sea ice extent hit the lowest level ever for June.
“The 2010 temperature data is evidence that the planet is continuing to warm,” said Rafe Pomerance, a senior fellow at Clean Air Cool Planet. “The absolute numbers indicate that the Earth’s climate is moving into uncharted territory, as reflected by the massive retreat of Arctic sea ice.”
What precisely is the point of the glibly misleading first sentence?
It is true that climate skeptics cited this winter’s snowstorm is evidence that global warming was overhyped, but the Washington Post must know that was pure disinformation. More intense snowstorms not only aren’t evidence against human-caused global warming, they are actually a prediction of climate science:
- An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact: We get more snow storms in warm years!
- MSNBC’s Ratigan: “These ‘snowpocalypses’ that have been going through DC and other extreme weather events are precisely what climate scientists have been predicting, fearing and anticipating because of global warming.”
- Massive moisture-driven extreme precipitation during warmest winter in the satellite record “” and the deniers say it disproves (!) climate science: Plus Dr. Jeff Masters on “Heavy snowfall in a warming world”
And more severe heat waves are also a prediction of climate science. Moreover, these aren’t ordinary heat waves. These are heat waves that have smashed the all-time temperature records in nine different countries.
Stay cool — which is not something I have to worry about since I’m in SF where it is absurdly cool. Everybody quotes the line attributed to Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” But snopes says he never said it.
- How hot is it? So hot that even the Washington Post mentions climate change (though not what causes it)
- We’re having a heat wave. New daily high temperature records beat new cold records by nearly 5 to 1 in June
- Record heat sweeps DC, nation, and world “” Washington Post staff sleepwalks through the story