What does one summer make?

It looks like the recent hot summer in Russia and the wildfires stuff have caused a volte-face (though probably only temporary) according to Time: Will Russia’s Heat Wave End Its Global-Warming Doubts?. Quite a few people have died, though most of them seem to have died of being drunk. Which suggests that adaption may be a useful strategy. And of course climatologically one summer means very little.

Apparently Medvedev has gone from We will not cut our development potential to

practically everything is burning. The weather is anomalously hot… What’s happening with the planet’s climate right now needs to be a wake-up call to all of us, meaning all heads of state, all heads of social organizations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate

Still, who cares what the monkey says, the question muct be what does the organ-grinder say? Nothing so far. I don’t think that Russia has ever really believed GW – as the Time article went on to say, for them it is all some Western conspiracy and they don’t understand or care. They had their own funny climate conference in 2003 and they used to get the vice-chairship of the IPCC as a bone. But that was in the days when the Chair was from the US; that kind of stuff seems to have gone now [1].

Refs:

* Wildfires and global warming
* Monckton is a Fraud from Gareth (in case there wasn’t enough in this post to satisfy your invective needs)

Comments

  1. #1 Adam
    2010/08/03

    I wonder if they feel that global warming would be generally positive for Russia with their vast amount of frozen tundra.

    [Ah yes thank you I forgot that bit. Yes, I've often heard it said that if obliged to move on to "so what if it is real" they'll likely go for "perhaps it will help Siberia" -W]

  2. #2 carrot eater
    2010/08/03

    Russia has a ridiculous rate of mortality related to alcohol and seemingly avoidable accidents.

    Compare the life expectancy of Russian males to that of Russian females.

    Then compare the Russian male life expectancy to any country outside sub-Saharan Africa.

    Forget climate change; Russia has more immediate public health and safety problems.

  3. #3 EdK
    2010/08/03

    @1 Adam,
    you may be on to something. From Peter the Great through the Soviet Union, a major strategic goal of the Russians was to obtain an ice-free, year-round port. Plus there may be some leftover Soviet inspired science chauvinism involved. Soviet geologists clung to the geosyncline concept long after it had been replaced by plate tectonics. Plus if you want some scientist to back-up the idea that oil is abiotic in origin and practically limitless, there are a number of old-school Russians who can fill the role (of course there are some Americans and Brits who’ll do the same).

  4. #4 dhogaza
    2010/08/04

    Ah yes thank you I forgot that bit. Yes, I’ve often heard it said that if obliged to move on to “so what if it is real” they’ll likely go for “perhaps it will help Siberia”

    Well, they have a lot of oil to sell, and arguably, over the short term (some decades) warming isn’t probably going to be terribly hurtful of them (once they discover the air conditioner). They’re probably underestimating the loss of grain output while overly salivating over the trade possibilities and even more oil resources that arise from less arctic sea ice, but with all their oil and gas reserves, surely they can just buy food, right?

    And the state and its organs and criminal companions (much of which evolved from the demolished KGB, including Putin) are going to be enriched. Nothing to fear for them, right?

  5. #5 Vince Whirlwind
    2010/08/04

    Can I recommend the novel “Gorky Park” by Michael Cruz Smith?

    In it (towards the end) Investigator Renko is erm, spending some time in the country, when the country catches fire. Michael Cruz Smith paints a vivid picture of peat burning underground, fire poping up here there and everywhere, people falling through undermined turf into burning pits of pit, etc…

    Clearly, summer fires such as this year’s are not unheard of, although the media once again displays its characteristic amnesia when hyping-up whatever it is that currently needs hyping.

    I was going to mention the Russians’ “Abiotic Oil” nonsense (you think our climate change denialism is bad – check out Abiotic Oil for total insanity) but somebody beat me to it.

  6. #6 MarkB
    2010/08/04

    For real?

    “Russia’s largest circulation newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, ran a headline on July 31 that asked, “Is the Russian heat wave the result of the USA testing its climate weapon?” The daily’s answer was “Yes, probably.” ”

    This is unbelievable. I guess I wasn’t aware of how far down the denial road Russia had gone.

    The question is what’s motivating Medvedev. Is his concern over some weather events (albeit some rather unprecedented extremes) really the motivation for a seemingly about-face? Or is there something else going on?

  7. #7 Lassi Hippeläinen
    2010/08/04

    In Russia summer means forest fires. The smoke can be seen even here in Finland regularly. There must be a political reason why it is in the headlines this time.

    The Russians know quite well what AGW is all about, but they also know they need money. Currently they make most of their foreign currency by selling fossil fuels to Western Europe. They don’t have any export industry worth mentioning. Just try to name any Russian product brand. (Vodka excluded.)

    @6: Russia has its own Fauxnewses and WingnutDailies. “Pravda” is Russian for “truth”. That should be a warning.

  8. #8 carrot eater
    2010/08/04

    MarkB:

    You’ll find reasonably prominent Russian media outlets indulging 9/11 conspiracy theorists as well.

  9. #9 Eli Rabett
    2010/08/04

    To square the circle, O. G. Sorokhtin, and others of Chiligar’s climate change denial friends acquaintance are abiotic oil guys. Denial, denial, denial

    http://wah-realitycheck.blogspot.com/2009/07/oops-they-did-it-again.html

  10. #10 thomas hine
    2010/08/04

    Did you know that the british killed Rasputin?

  11. #11 Omega Centauri
    2010/08/04

    In past Russian heatwaves the principle cause of excess fatalities was supposedly drowning as overheated folks who apparently never learned to swim jumped into the water. (Or perhaps they have had too much to drink to remember how to swim).

    Isn’t the Russian media and to a lesser extent government owned by the oil oligarchs? Even more valuable than the natural gas for Europe they export several million barrels per day of oil. Russia and Saudi Arabia trade places for number one oil producer.

    Global warming denial, and abiotic oil seem to go together. Both play into the rightwing meme that energy woes are solely caused by liberal/environmentalist wackoes.

  12. #12 Mal Adapted
    2010/08/04

    Did you know that the british killed Rasputin?

    Which time?

  13. #13 MarkB
    2010/08/04

    “July in Moscow is easily going to smash the record for hottest month in Moscow’s history. By my rough estimate, the temperature has been 18°F (10°C) above average this month. The record hottest July, in 1938, had temperatures 5.3°C above average. Given that the planet as a whole has seen record high temperatures the past four months in a row, it should not be a surprise to see unprecedented heat waves like the Russian heat wave. A record warm planet “loads the dice” in favor of regional heat waves more extreme than anything experienced in recorded history.”

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/archive.html?year=2010&month=07

    I had to read that again. The July record is being beaten by about 4.7 C? With more than 100 data points, that is nothing short of an astounding anomaly.

  14. #14 Taad Laet
    2010/08/05

    @13: Temperature measurements from Moscow are at
    http://pogoda.ru.net/monitor.php?id=27612&month=8&year=2010
    In July the monthly temperature average has been 7.7°C above long-term average (1971-2000), but for some recent days the divergence is over 12°C.

  15. #15 bluegrue
    2010/08/05

    It seems part of the problem is the passage of the new Forest Code in 2006. It disbanded the former centralized system of forest protection, but Russia seems to have failed following up with building effective local successors.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0803/russia.html

  16. #16 Alex Besogonov
    2010/08/05

    The current drought in Russia is not really unprecedented, in 1972 the drought was much worse (it was much longer and affected more territory).

    So, please, don’t spread too-easy-to-disprove claim that drought was _caused_ by the AGW.

    However, AGW was probably responsible for the record temperatures during this summer.

    Also, a lot of fire problems were caused by piss-poor organization of firefighters and absolutely corrupt local authorities.

  17. #17 thomas hine
    2010/08/06

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_30a.rnl.html

    X marks the spot – but what of the ROW?

    I am curious, though, after looking at the 30-day anomaly page “religiously” for the past 4 years, why there has been no coverage or mention of the central/southern Andes being constantly 5-10 deg C neg. That anomaly has been there every month since I have watched. This stretches past weather variablilty one would think and should be of interest in the realm of climatology?

  18. #18 Marco
    2010/08/06

    Thomas Hine:
    Usually this type of anomaly is observed during a La Nina (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/enso/enso.pl?output=2&variable=tsurf&region=all&event=e&season=sum&type=a)

  19. #19 thomas hine
    2010/08/06

    Yes, but it has been ongoing. And the few papers addressing the region’s cooling are from 1970s and 80s, as well as I think one in 2002 (“Cooling in a warming world” or something to that effect). It has been pronounced during the past 2 El Nino’s for sure.

    I got a blank screen, for your NOAA link, but obviously La Nina and cold eastern pacific has great influence on the region. But, La Nina has not been more prominent as of the late decades?

  20. #20 Marco
    2010/08/06

    Thomas, try through here:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/compare/
    select in the compare form El Nino vs La Nina, the rest should be OK.

    Can’t help with the rest of your questions, sorry.

  21. #21 thomas hine
    2010/08/06

    Marco – works now, thanks. Pretty interesting for La Nina.

  22. #22 Scared Amoeba
    2010/08/11

    According to the BBC World Service on Monday 9th, they inteviewed a worker at a Moscow Morgue. He wouldn’t be named or speak on the record, but off the record he said the death rate was five times normal.

  23. #23 snow bunny
    2010/08/14

    The death rate in Moscow for July was 14000 up from a normal of 7000-8000. The alcohol story was an early denial; not that many people drowned in the river. (But if it was that hot that long, I might try suicide by alcohol!)
    When the smoke drenched Moscow, the daily death toll doubled. The temperature was then 100F, 25F or 12C above normal every day. Most of the excess deaths were the elderly and the very young, according to reports. Smoke, heat, and way unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide.
    Weather forecast now is high 80s, maybe rain.
    The huge heat and drought — previously unknown in Moscow archives — was balanced by equal dips in temperature in parts of normal Russia. Not a good thing either.
    Some climate scientists (Trenbeth) are attributing this, along with the horrible strengthening of the usual monsoon is Pakistan, to the warming of the earth.

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