At 4pm local time on 30 July in Moscow, Russia, the temperature surpassed 100°F for the first time in recorded history. The high temperature of 100.8°F (37.8°C) recorded at the Moscow Observatory, the official weather location for Moscow, beat Moscow’s previous record of 99.5°F (37.5°C), set just three days ago, on July 26. Prior to 2010, Moscow’s hottest temperature of all-time was 36.6°C (98.2°F), set in August, 1920. Records in Moscow go back to 1879.
On August 1, Ukraine tied its record for hottest temperature in its history when the mercury hit 41.3°C (106.3°F) at Lukhansk. The Ukraine also reached 41.3°C on July 20 and 21, 2007, at Voznesensk. Sixteen of 225 nations on Earth have set extreme highest temperature in history records this year, the most of any year. The year 2007 is in second place, with fifteen such records.
None of the 303 major U.S. cities listed in the records section of Chris Burt’s book Extreme Weather has set a coldest month in history record since 1994 (these 303 cites were selected to represent a broad spectrum of U.S. climate zones, are not all big cities, have a good range of elevations, and in most cases have data going back to the 1880s.) There were just three such records (1% of the 303 major U.S. cities) set in the past twenty years, 1991 - 2010. In contrast, 97 out of 303 major U.S. cities (32%) set records for their warmest month in history during the past twenty years. It is much harder to set a coldest month in history record than a coldest day in history record in a warming climate, since it requires cold for an extended period of time — not just a sudden extreme cold snap.
The Russian government, it seems, is at last beginning to think there might be such a thing as global warming. Last year, reports Timemagazine, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced that his country, the world’s third largest polluter after China and the US, would be spewing 30% more planet-warming gases into the atmosphere by 2020. “We will not cut our development potential,” he said during the summer of 2009 (an unusually mild one), just a few months before attending the Copenhagen climate summit.
At a meeting of international sporting officials in Moscow on July 30 this year, President Medvedev announced that in 14 regions of Russia it was quite a different story “practically everything is burning. The weather is anomalously hot.”
Then, as TV cameras zoomed in on the perspiration shining on his forehead, Medvedev announced, “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 organisations, in order to take a more energetic approach to countering the global changes to the climate.”
Meanwhile, back in Australia, the leaders of our two major political parties out on the campaign trail continue to speak and act as if there is no hurry to take a “more energetic approach.” Perhaps we need a good heatwave to concentrate their minds but the evidence should be clear enough without one. Here is a Bureau of Meteorology map showing the 12 monthly mean temperature anomaly for Australia.
There’s not one part of the country where temperatures have not been above the long-term average.