Russian heat wave in 2010 not caused by climate change
Last summer Russia suffered a debilitating heat wave, its hottest since 1880, making Russian officials for the first time into advocates for stemming climate change (Russia doesn’t have a great reputation on the topic).
But alas, as much as it would help the climate change cause to link yet another heat wave to global temperature rise, a new study says that Russia experienced a fluke unrelated to the trend last year that made 2010 the hottest on record.
Proving that not wacky weather event is climate change related, the study out of NOAA and the University of Colorado at Boulder found that natural variability produced the 62-day mercury spike that killed 11,000 people in Moscow, scorched 300,000 acres, and destroyed 1,500 homes.
By using simulation modeling, the researchers found that the heat wave was the result of abnormal atmospheric patterns caused by displaced subtropical air that was blocked as it descended and then amplified because of reduced cloud cover and drought.
If this had been climate related, there should have been a pattern of these kinds of events increasing in Russia over time, the researchers say. But there’s been no significant warming trend over the last century and a half, nor any indication of a trend towards increasing warm weather extremes.
They write that “no statistically significant long-term change is detected in either the mean or variability of western Russia July temperatures, implying that for this region an anthropogenic climate change signal has yet to emerge above the natural background variability.”
That’s not what happened in 2003 in Western Europe, an event that’s been well tied to climate change.
Tags: heat wave