World’s Worst Heatwave – The Marble Bar heatwave, 1923-24

With all the caterwauling over the record heat in Moscow over a few days due to a blocking high pressure zone, it would seem valuable to revisit a truly exceptional historical heatwave that occurred long before “global warming” became a buzzword.

From The Australian Bureau Of Meteorology, something the Aussies might remember and remind their MP’s of, given the recent downfall of labor to the climate policies they are pushing. It is still a stalemate, but it’s down to a few people.

From Wikipedia: The record for the longest heat wave in the world is generally accepted to have been set in Marble Bar in Australia, where from October 31, 1923 to April 7, 1924 the temperature broke the 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) benchmark, setting the heat wave record at 160 days.

CO2 was 305 ppm at the time. Imagine the press coverage if this happened now. From The Australian Bureau Of Meteorology:

The Marble Bar heatwave, 1923-24

source: http://www.bom.gov.au/lam/climate/levelthree/c20thc/temp1.htm

Temperature chart

“Day by day maximum temperatures at Marble Bar over the period 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924. At the peak of the heatwave – between late December and late February – many days approached or exceeded 45°C”.

The world record for the longest sequence of days above 100°Fahrenheit (or 37.8° on the Celsius scale) is held by Marble Bar in the inland Pilbara district of Western Australia. The temperature, measured under standard exposure conditions, reached or exceeded the century mark every day from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924, a total of 160 days.

Temperatures above 100°F are common in Marble Bar and indeed throughout a wide area of northwestern Australia. On average, Marble Bar experiences about 154 such days each year. The town is far enough inland that, during the summer months, the only mechanisms likely to prevent the air from reaching such a temperature involve a southward excursion of humid air associated with the monsoon trough, or heavy cloud, and/or rain, in the immediate area. This may sometimes be associated with a tropical cyclone or a monsoon low. In the record year of 1923-24 the monsoon trough stayed well north, and the season was notable for its lack of cyclone activity. (In fact, the entire Australian continent was untouched by tropical cyclones throughout the season, a rare event in the 20th Century). The rainfall recorded at Marble Bar during the record 160 days was just 79 mm, most of it in two heavy, short-lived storms that developed after the heat of the day. Only a further 12 mm of rain fell before the following December. Severe drought prevailed across the Western Australian tropics, and stock losses were heavy. With no rain to speak of, and minimal cloud, there was nothing to relieve day after day of extreme heat.

The highest temperature recorded during the record spell was 47.5°C on 18 January 1924. There have been higher temperatures at Marble Bar, with the highest recorded being 49.2°C, on 11 January 1905 and again on 3 January 1922. But temperatures in other Western Australian towns have been higher: in a remarkable late-season heat-wave in February 1998, Mardie recorded a maximum of 50.5°C (on the 19th) – the highest temperature in Western Australia, and the second highest ever recorded in Australia using standard instrumentation (Oodnadatta, in South Australia, recorded 50.7°C on 2 January 1960). Several other recordings above 49°C were reported in the northwest on the days preceding Mardie’s record, and at Nyang, the average maximum over the entire summer exceeded 43°C. As in 1923-24, very dry conditions accompanied the extreme heat.

h/t to Steven Goddard

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84 thoughts on “World’s Worst Heatwave – The Marble Bar heatwave, 1923-24

  1. With some crafty modeling, those high readings can be adjusted downward.
    Sames goes with floods. At that time the floods were not caused by CO2. They were caused by rain. Today they are caused by CO2.

  2. That’s all well and good but we must remember that “modern climate history” began in 1979. Anything prior is irrelevant.

  3. An inconvenient heatwave. Oh well, GISS can adjust it down so it won’t be so hot so that any 21st century occurence can be even hotter, no matter what the thermometer says.

  4. Longest = worst? By who’s definition? Or are you making that up?

    Moscow’s July temperature anomaly was ~3.6 standard deviations over the mean. How does the Marble Bar heat wave compare? How unexpected is it for somewhere that gets an average of 154 days above 100F to get 160 such days consecutively?

    REPLY:
    You really ought to read the whole article before jumping to an erroneous conclusion and making an accusation that I “made it up”. By definition, a heat wave is duration based.

    See my reply to Mark S below. – Anthony

  5. “The record for the longest heat wave in the world is generally accepted to have been set in Marble Bar in Australia, where from October 31, 1923 to April 7, 1924 the temperature broke the 37.8 °C (100.0 °F) benchmark….”

    Imagine if this record were equalled today in Marble Bar Australia. We would get the predictable “unprecedented”, “global warming”, “worse than we thought” ………[insert alarm mantra].

    Almost every time we get a scare story and examine it closer [like the Russian heatwave] we find it’s not co2 or global warming but a natural event. I often have to point alarmists to the effect of UHI and that today we have many more instruments with greater sophistication looking at almost every square mile of the planet. 65 years ago we had fewer so local events could easily have been missed.

  6. There was a great drought and presumably heatwave in the Buenos Aries region of Argentina from 1827 to 1829. More than a million cattle died.

    Another heatwave occurred in France in 1540. According to Buisman’s recent findings, the year 1540 was an even more severe summer than 2003. All over Europe, the heatwave lasted, off and on, for seven months, with parched fields and dried up rivers, such as the Rhine. People in Paris, France could walk on the river bed of the Seine without getting their feet wet.

    There are many other such heatwaves, if climatologists were interested in searching history.

  7. if the temperature in death valley breaks 100 for a month straight during the summer is that really a heatwave? What about if NYC reached 95 for a month straight? Would that be newsworthy? My point is that i’m betting your point with this article is in fact pointless.

  8. it’s worse than I initially thought. The average high temperature for this place is over 100 from november – march is well over 100.

  9. This would be more informative if it were shown relative to other years.
    Like this: my hometown record is 52 days 100 deg. or above in 1932.
    2nd highest year was 42 days 100 deg. or above in 1988.
    current year is 10 days 100 deg. or above.

  10. Heat and drought have made Australia famous. A readable summary can be found here:

    http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/weather/

    Example: ————————
    “There have been many serious droughts in Australia in the last 200 years. The 1895-1903 drought lasted eight years and caused the death of half of Australia’s sheep and forty per cent of its cattle. The 1963-68 drought caused a forty per cent reduction in wheat crops across Australia. In central Australia that same drought actually lasted eight years, from 1958 to 1967.

    Generally speaking, for every ten years in Australia there are three years during which water supply is good, and three years during which water supply is bad.”
    ————————

    There is no reason to think this hasn’t been the case for thousands of years. Here is another interesting take on weather in Australia, namely, El Niño/ La Niña – Detailed Australian Analyses.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/enlist/index.shtml

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/lnlist/

    These pages describe a case by case analysis of El Niño/La Niña related weather events since 1900.

  11. Leon Brozyna says:
    August 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    GISS has an app for that: It’s an Anomalymometer Homogenizer.

  12. CTM, spamming wasn’t my intent. I did apologize, and you don’t have a edit/delete function for users, or I’d have deleted the first one myself.

  13. My great grandfather was caught behind the great Blue Mountain blizzard over the Oregon Trail in 1878. It prevented him from continuing his trip to the Willamette Valley during that entire winter. When the snow cleared, he decided that Wallowa County, Oregon was about the prettiest place he had ever seen and, at the time, was considered to be the last place Indians were removed from, meaning that it was about as wild a place as you could find in the West. So he stayed and became the 6th richest man in the County within 15 years. No such blizzard has occurred since that time.

    My grandparents drove through the dust bowl and managed to survive through the great depression. No heat wave or drought has ever been as worse or more worse than that one. They lived into the 1980’s, eking out a living on a small ranch here, the one that I now manage. Water has been plentiful and even more so these last 3 years. Oral histories are not that bad of a proxy. Wonder if Mann would consider studying those, given that his tree rings suck eggs.

  14. rbateman says:
    August 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm
    ==========================
    LOL I had to read that three times to get it right……

    Has anyone tried to figure out a tie-in to all these past heat waves, droughts, etc?
    I just don’t know where to find it.

    This was 1923-24 in the southern, then in 1930-40 you had the dust bowl decade in America, and almost the same thing in Russia, in the northern.

  15. Moscow’s July temperature anomaly was ~3.6 standard deviations over the mean.

    Your going to run with that in an attempt to scare us?

    Assuming a normal distribution, you would see that 1 in every 4000 months (p=0.99984). So once every 350 years. But there are a lot of places on the earth which are also running the same “experiment”. I would expect to see a standard deviation of that nature every year.

    In any case, the assumption that you can use standard deviation as a measure of extreme weather events is also very poor. The temperature from one day to the next is not an independent event. Once the temperature locks in hot, it will tend to run hot. Extreme events will tend to be much more likely than normal distribution would suggest.

    All in all, your 3.6 standard deviations mean very little.

  16. I’m suspicious. Was that 1920s heatwave recorded with thermometers? Thought so. I’m sure if we look hard enough we can find some treemometers to tell a different story, and with a 99% confidence too.

  17. @richard telford

    Historically, the Moscow heat wave was not extraordinary. Weather exactly like this summer happens there a few times a century going back as far as you can dig up records.

    Of course, people in the 1800’s can’t be trusted with thermometers and scientists of the day commenting and writing about 40°C plus temperatures and thick smoke from burning forests and boggs must have been mistaken because it doesn’t show up in the modern officially adjusted temperature record.

  18. Note DRY, what is the energy?

    I and at least one other have mentioned, hyperventilating over temperatures is pointless! It means nothing in relation to the Earth energy budget!

    Ocean temps on the other hand are more meaningful & they seem to be on the way down.

    DaveE.

  19. I guess I have to agree with Richard Telford on this one. The highest monthly average maximum temperature in Marble Bar is 108 deg F. The highest during the heat wave mentioned here was 117 deg F….not even an all time high which is 120.6 deg F.

    In Moscow, the average high on the day the temp hit 100.8 deg F was just 72. The 100.8 was an all time high. The entire month of July averaged 15 deg F above normal in Moscow. Marble Bar was about half that in their heat wave.

    How could you call this the worst heat wave ever, especially for a town that averages 154 days per year of temps over 100 deg F? This is a nonsense post and should never have appeared on WUWT.

    REPLY: See my response to Mark S below. I’ll also point out this is from BoM, who thought it noteworthy enough to dedicate a whole page to it. Wikipedia has a page on it as well. – Anthony

  20. A number of people have been looking at the maximum temperatures and saying they’re not that much out of the ordinary. Take a look at the minimums instead. It broke 100F on Oct 31 and didn’t get below it again until Apr 7. That’s a heat wave.

  21. rbateman says:
    August 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    GISS product — homogenized and pasteurized. I’ve become lactose intolerant.

  22. James & Telford

    The “post” is from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

    Half of Russia has been below normal this summer. 160 days ago Moscow was experiencing bitter cold.

    It is so terrible being told that the world is not coming to an end after all.

  23. This is a nonsense post. Like saying that Death Valley had a heat wave or that it was hot in Vegas. If ‘abnormally high’ is included in your definition of heatwave than this is a non-event. I agree with C James that this never should have been posted on WUWT.

    REPLY: Well, you are entitled to your opinion but I disagree. It was an event of distinction because of its duration. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather i.e. “heat waves” are defined by duration. The Moscow “heat wave” was defined by its duration also. It wouldn’t have been a heat wave if it lasted one or two days.

    And as pointed out by Robert Swan above; “Take a look at the minimums instead. It broke 100F on Oct 31 and didn’t get below it again until Apr 7. That’s a heat wave.”

    Too often we lose sight of the past and precedence of such events. Too often there is the conclusion that we experience “unprecedented heat waves”. If I’m guilty of reminding people (or educating them for the first time of such as event) so be it. But I’ll continue to post things that I think are interesting and relevant. If it were happening in WA today, it would get mondo press. – Anthony

  24. Lighten up folks. Some days the scientific news is slow. A post that allows anyone to chime in with an opposing ‘worst’ or ‘best’ story about the weather ought not to raise Lyssa from her resting place.

    Pamela mentions a blizzard in the Blues with none such since. But I’ve been on the nearby Interstate when each hill top was coated by a half inch of clear ice with none a few hundred feet lower. Now they call it “black ice” but that’s like blaming it on the devil when you crash. When you can see the road and the white and yellow lines through it, it is clear.

    Have a drink and some popcorn. Relax. Cheers.

  25. Leon Brozyna,

    “An inconvenient heatwave. Oh well, GISS can adjust it down”

    The Aust BoM have already done this by deleting all pre-1910 temp records [and 1910 conveniently is a cool period] because prior to this people just couldn’t be trusted with thermometers. And especially as these earlier times set a few max records.

  26. Here’s a link to a Nature photo taken near Marble Bar.

    http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/photo807441.htm

    In our own Death Valley, we have flowers that bloom shortly after a good rain (which doesn’t happen every year). Then they quickly go to seed and die off.

    Yes, most of the Marble Bar region is probably Mad Max country, as one would expect, by way of analogy with Death Valley. But judging from the photo, at least one part the area is different. I was surprised that any trees–even eucalyptus–could survive in that extreme heat, in that extreme aridity, and in that laterized soil.

  27. I lived in Phoenix for several years. They average 90 days a year over 100F.

    160 days in a row is incredible, and is the longest stretch any place on earth has ever recorded. This happened at 305 ppm.

    The cognitive dissonance being displayed is mind boggling.

  28. Hottest temperature ever recorded in Australia – 50.7°C on 2 January 1960

    Hottest temperatures ever recorded at Marble Bar – 49.2°C, on 11 January 1905 and again on 3 January 1922.

    Undeniable proof that CO2 is causing the hot temperatures.

  29. Douglas Hoyt mentioned 1540 as a heatwave year in France and if you look across the Channel the ‘Great Drought’ from February to September caused many streams and wells to dry up.

    The years previous were all hot and dry, so would I be correct in thinking this came about because of blocking?

  30. When I was still a small boy some 65 years ago [ over 7 decades have passed for this old man now ] that Marble Bar heat wave was a regular topic that featured in the papers and journals of the times.
    My parents often spoke of the intense heat of the 1930’s and this was down in the cooler SE parts of Australia so localised long duration heat waves with even higher temperatures than are recorded in the present were nothing unusual in the times past.

    Perhaps more unusual is the quite fanatical attempts by some AGW believers as we are seeing in a previous post here, to attempt to censor and remove from the record any previously recorded historically high temperature extremes that might challenge their rigidly held beliefs that the highest temperature extremes ever recorded are only in the “here and now”.
    For those who would like to have a look at the quite incredible changes and the huge variations in the very short term weather and climate climate of the UK over the last couple of thousand years, the Metindex site [ Booty Meteorological Information Source ] put together by a British meteorologist is a good place to start.

    http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/metindex.htm

    The periods of heat, cold, storms, droughts and etc in the UK as listed in this site in historical chronological order is truly eye opening and just makes the claims by the AGW believers that this is an era of unprecedented climate happenings look like the rantings of some small boys who can’t get their own way.

  31. ROM

    GISS says that the 1930s heat (which they have repeatedly downgraded) was strictly a US phenomenon.

    Do you believe the word of people who lived through it in Australia over Hansen’s calculations?

  32. Interesingly I remember hearing that the Marble Bar Post Master in 1980s had been caughtreducing the reported figures for the nearby Telfer Mine town for which he also kept the record. To ensure Marble Bar always held the record as the hottest town in Aus. The point is , there’s a lot hotter places in Aus. But no one lives out there.

  33. Pamela Gray says:
    August 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    So where is your ranch and what to you raise? Hay, cattle, Horses.

    It hailed at my place last night and stuck for quite a while. Branded horses this morning and did some trailer loading training, now it’s raining and temps are several degrees below normal. No heat wave here. Trees are turning, horses are starting winter coats, and birds are starting to migrate. Gotta get out to my wood lot and cut my winter wood supply before it snows.

    Wayne

  34. The volcanic activity at this time period was very, very low…

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/find_eruptions.cfm

    1920 32 eruptions
    1921 41
    1922 43
    1923 43
    1924 44

    The bulk of what was erupting was VEI-0 to 2

    Except for:
    Azul, Cerro Chile
    1916  1932 Apr 21  5+

    Just bet ya that nothing was making the stratosphere and Azul was probably loading the SH troposphere with ash particles/aerosols. That’s a brew for it to get hot!

    For comparison we’ve been getting mostly about 65 to near 80 eruptions a year since 1995.

    I’m beginning to think volcano eruption volume answers almost everything. I’m becoming less a fan of Malankovitch Cycles and fancy climate experts every day.

  35. Anthony, I respectfully disagree. The Russian heatwave has been abnormal because temperatures averaged 20 F over normal temps for this (large) region over a month+. However, the average temperature in Marble for the 5 months in question are all over 100F. In other words, if the daily temps in Marble just stayed ‘average’ you would get 150+ straight days of 100f+ temps.

    Of course, when the definition of heatwave being used is simply consecutive days of 100f temps you are going to get a place like Marble, or Death Valley or the Gobi dessert having the longest heat waves. In sum, the heat waves in Moscow and Marble are simply not comparable.

    And your premise that a similar heatwave in WA today would get huge press coverage is dubious. The reason the Russian heatwave gets coverage is that people are dying, wildfires are burning, flights are canceled, and crops are dying. A heatwave, regardless of how big, in the backcountry of Australia would simply not interest the press that much.

  36. stevengoddard says:
    August 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Some of the tales that I heard regularly from the old fashioned genuine bushies who lived their entire lives in the Australian outback during those years were that during those long heat waves, birds were seen to just stop flying and fall out of the air quite dead from the heat.
    Something I never seen or heard of as happening during my lifetime [ 1938 > ] and I have been a country person, a grain farmer all my life.

    For what it is worth, some of the most Skeptical people in Australia are rural people who have lived through and had to try and make a living while trying to handle everything that Nature can throw at them.
    They have seen and personally lived through and experienced both physically and economically all the vagaries and extremes of weather, climate, heat, cold, storms, drought, extreme wet and etc that Nature can throw at anyone.
    And they have done this through some 5 or 6 decades of their working life outdoors so they have seen a lot of nature and just don’t believe all the bull crap that the sequestered, heated or air conditioned and carefully sheltered from all but the deluge of tax payer dollars, “climate scientists” [ ?? ] try to tell us that we are going to hell in a bread basket because the Earth is going to heat up by a degree or so.
    A very cynical laugh follows any such global warming / climate change statements when in these old country guy’s company.

    And please don’t bring up Hansen in polite company!

  37. Mark S,

    And as pointed out by Robert Swan above; “Take a look at the minimums instead. It broke 100F on Oct 31 and didn’t get below it again until Apr 7. That’s a heat wave.”

    Those are highs, not lows, so I’m sure it went below 100 deg F most every night. I live in Phoenix and at times it will go a month or two with every day over 100 but it will usually cool down to the 80s at night and I’ve never seen a low of 100 or more. BTW we had a record year recently with over 100 straight days over 100. But it’s bearable as long as you have AC and don’t have to work outside during the heat of the day. But that’s why they invented siestas back before there was AC.

  38. For a convenient and comprehensive history of Marble Bar temps including graphs and pics, see http://www.waclimate.net/#marblebar

    The BOM 30 year averages for Marble Bar are summarised thus:

    1901-1930 (30 years surveyed)
    Average mean minimum 19.7
    Average mean maximum 35.6

    1921-1950 / min 19.6 / max 35.5
    1931-1960 / min 19.7 / max 35.4
    1941-1970 / min 19.6 / max 35.2
    1951-1980 / min 19.9 / max 35.1
    1961-1990 / min 20.1 / max 35.0
    1971-2000 / min 20.4 / max 35.1

    1981-2006 (26 years)
    Average mean minimum 20.4
    Average mean maximum 35.3

    So it would appear that from 1901 up to the close of recording in 2006, the average overnight minimum in Marble Bar increased by an average .7 C and the average daytime maximum fell by .3 C.

    However, the most recent BOM data for Marble Bar is …

    12 months from August 2009 – July 2010
    Mean annual minimum 21.42
    Mean annual maximum 36.67

    So the minimum over the past year has been 1.72 C above the 1901-1930 average and the average maximum has been 1.07 C warmer.

    This is in line with an average .5 C increase in minima and .7 C increase in maxima at all WA and possibly all Australian BOM recording stations since an acknowledged BOM database bug was corrected in November 2009 to increase all averages in the database for August 2009 by about .4 C. The increase in Western Australia temperatures since March 2009, based on 32 locations combined including Marble Bar, is charted at http://www.waclimate.net/imgs/wa-monthly-bug.jpg

    Since November 2009, Western Australia has recorded its hottest ever summer, 6th hottest autumn maxima and 4th hottest autumn minima since records began in 1950 (please ignore the previous 100 years) …

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/season/wa/archive/201002.summary.shtml

  39. But what about the thousands of years of higher temps during the earlier holocene (from the Greenland ice cores) to the cooler temps of today.

    Of course those much higher temps in the NH saw boreal forests grow for thousands of years in northern Russia and Siberia where today there is only ice.

    What we can say for sure, it wasn’t caused by humans and their factories, cars , planes and power stations. Gee it must have been natural CC.

  40. Mark S says:
    August 21, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    “Anthony, I respectfully disagree. The Russian heatwave has been abnormal because temperatures averaged 20 F over normal temps for this (large) region over a month+. However, the average temperature in Marble for the 5 months in question are all over 100F. In other words, if the daily temps in Marble just stayed ‘average’ you would get 150+ straight days of 100f+ temps.”

    You have added nothing that is not included in the article, yet omit some important data, such as the Marble heatwave having *continuous* temps over 100F, many *way* over (“many days approached or exceeded 113F”, “the highest temp 117.5F” ), and severe drought. Average for 5 months is around 105-106F, so indeed they experienced a heatwave that may have averaged 10F or more over “normal”.

    “Of course, when the definition of heatwave being used is simply consecutive days of 100f temps you are going to get a place like Marble, or Death Valley or the Gobi dessert having the longest heat waves. In sum, the heat waves in Moscow and Marble are simply not comparable.”

    No “definition” was given for heatwave, and there was no “comparison”.

    “And your premise that a similar heatwave in WA today would get huge press coverage is dubious. The reason the Russian heatwave gets coverage is that people are dying, wildfires are burning, flights are canceled, and crops are dying. A heatwave, regardless of how big, in the backcountry of Australia would simply not interest the press that much.”

    Most any record does and will get press coverage, usually in the format of “see, global warming”. Come out from under the rock.

  41. You didn t mention that BOM in its wisdom has seen fit to adjust the earlier temperatures for Marble Bar down so as to increase the warming trend by about 0.7C per 100 years- see

    http://kenskingdom.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/the-australian-temperature-record-part-3-western-australia/

    They do this throughout Australia to produce their quote High Quality unquote climate record to prove that global warming is affecting Australia more than anywhere else.
    Ken

    REPLY: Didn’t know that you’d done Marble Bar, thanks for the note – Anthony

  42. Few days? Few days heat in Moscow? What the hell you compare it with AUSTRALIA???

    1. These were 50 (FIFTY!!!) days of heat in Moscow.

    2. This happened NEVER, just NEVER before in Moscow.

    3. Marble Bar is 21 deg south: it is nearly at equator. May be, you buy a map and take a look, where Moscow is?

    What a ridiculous comparison!

  43. Mark S says:
    August 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm
    This is a nonsense post. Like saying that Death Valley had a heat wave or that it was hot in Vegas. If ‘abnormally high’ is included in your definition of heatwave than this is a non-event. I agree with C James that this never should have been posted on WUWT.

    Hi Mark S, Why not set up YOUR OWN blog? Then you can post whatever you wish! Mr Watts kindly allows us to post our views about issues arising, but you are NOT his editor and have no right to tell him what to post.

  44. The Inland Sea of California, 1862:
    “The floods of December 1861-January 1862 were even more severe, making news around the world (see the pages from the Illustrated London News below). This deluge created an inland sea that spread over thousands of acres, deep enough that boats could sail over the tops of telegraph poles in the Sacramento Valley. ”
    The Indians told the new Californians of an even worse one, where the entire Valley was inundated for 3 months.
    The Settlers out here came because of the balmy winters. Not 30 years afterwards, you could find them talking of climate change, for the weather had turned cold, biting the hand of agriculture, and stayed that way for decades.

    Nevertheless, after all the climate changes of the past 160 years, today, the floods in Pakistan, noted for such, is all about Anthropogenic Climate Change, and has Hillary Rodham Clinton doing a dance with a very dour face.

  45. One more time…Marble Bar experiences six consecutive months with average maxima of well over 100F,and averages 154 daily highs of over 100F. The annual average temperature is 35.3C. There is no doubt that a 160 day sequence is big odds,but more for the sequence than the actual heat.

    Steven G’s pointing out that Moscow averaged 15C over the last 160 days only serves to emphasize how exceptional the fifty day heatwave was [and the fact that climatically there is no similarity with Marble Bar]. Remember also that daily minima were above average daily maxima.

    A few hundred people live in the Marble Bar area,as in the 1920s. In comparison…etc. This also removes one sense of “worst” from play.

  46. Although my wife and I didn’t qualify to vote in the Australian federal election, she was involved in the ballot count last night. I watched the proceedings on ABC 24Hr News channel, and it was a “climate change” talk fest, and how Labor “let the Australian public down” by not implementing an ETS etc etc. All the other major channels were reporting something similar.

    My wife said she saw thousands on ballot papers voting Green. Seems the Australian public have been seriously brainwashed in AGW propaganda.

    A hung parliament for Australia, seems to parrot the UK situation recently. Labor are 1 seat behind Liberals, so it’s just the postal vots and the independents who are in the position to form a Govn’t. Interesting times.

    There was another program on SBS the other night, talking about energy independence. There was one guy who stated that “We could have solar power 24hrs…blah blah blah..” I had to laugh. He was, obviously, suggesting doing what Spain is doing with it’s green solar power generation.

  47. REPLY: You really ought to read the whole article before jumping to an erroneous conclusion and making an accusation that I “made it up”. By definition, a heat wave is duration based.
    ———————————-
    Nowhere in this article do you justify describing this as the worst heat wave. Your sources do not use the word “worst”. It would be reasonable to define worst in terms of mortality or economic/ecological damage. Its not reasonable to make up the definition.

    REPLY: It’s also reasonable to define it by duration, as two or three day “heat wave” is far less severe than one lasting for weeks or months, and since no generally accepted standard exists for defining the severity of a heatwave, duration + temperature can be just as useful for defining severity. Mostly your issues hear are about your general dislike of this forum, as you’ve demonstrated with your opinions elsewhere. I’ll expect to see similar complaints from you lodged about the Russian heat wave with newspapers and forums that have used the word “worst”

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-08-09-moscow-deaths-double-in-russias-worst-ever-heat/

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/08/russian-heatwave-worst-1000-years.php

    But as been demonstrated in comments further down, Russia has had some dandy heat waves in the past 1000 years. Why do Grist and Treehugger stand out as the only news outlets that define it as “worst” in the title?

    Please post your complaints to those outlets here too.

    – Anthony

  48. Mark S
    “The reason the Russian heatwave gets coverage is that people are dying, wildfires are burning, flights are canceled, and crops are dying. ”
    ————
    The reason the Russian heatwave gets so much coverage is that we have instant media, satellite TV, the Internet, Co2 alarmism, mobile phones, apps etc.

    There is nothing to see here Mark S, move along, move along.

    NOAA said on 13 August 2010
    “…greenhouse gas forcing fails to explain the 2010 heat wave over western Russia. The natural process of atmospheric blocking, and the climate impacts induced by such blocking, are the principal cause for this heat wave.”

    What about the Pakistan floods, the heatwaves of Japan, the warm spell in western Europe and the unusual weather in the US and Canada last month?

    “According to meteorologists monitoring the atmosphere above the northern hemisphere, unusual holding patterns in the jet stream are to blame. As a result, weather systems sat still. Temperatures rocketed and rainfall reached extremes. ”
    source

    “Blocking events naturally occur from time to time. There is evidence that low solar activity increases their numbers , and the sun is currently in a period of minimum activity”
    source

    What about the fires in Russia’s boreal forests, are they on the increase?

    “Some contradictory evidence in the literature has led authors to question the likelihood of seeing an increase in boreal wildfire risk under warming of the Northern Hemisphere. Despite warming since about 1850 and increased incidence of large forest fires in the 1980s, a number of studies indicated a decrease in boreal fire activity in the last 150 years or so.”
    Source: Girardin, M.P., A.A. Ali et. al. 2009. Global Change Biology, 15, 2751–2769 [pdf]

    For those who still persist on blaming co2 on these recent weather events here is a word of caution from two journalists at the Guardian.
    Guardian 6 January, 2010 – George Monbiot and Leo Hickman

    Britain’s cold snap does not prove climate science wrong
    Climate sceptics are failing to understand the most basic meteorology – that weather is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends”

  49. It is not so useful to select for a run of uninterrupted high temperatures, because just one low day can ruin a good story. Here are some answers to some questions posed above, like when did the record start and end, what did the annual maxima look like over the years, ditto minima. So here is an explanatory graph for Marble Bar. It used to be close to Australia’s main asbestos mine (started in the 1930s, closed in the 1960s), but even today people are being dignosed with mesothelioma, including a good friend from 20 years ago. Official weather records seem to have gone on to August 2006, after starting February 1901. Graph at

    For some years we explored for gold even further inland at Paterson Range, near the then new gold mine of Telfer. There is a small period of overlap between the Marble Bar records and Telfer, which show that in the overlap time, Telfer is hotter than Marble Bar. Telfer is some 250 km ESE of Marble Bar.
    Try 21 45 20 S, 122 13 58 E.

    In a good week you might see a thin camel for scenic charm. Then again, you might not.

  50. Mark S
    “The reason the Russian heatwave gets coverage is that people are dying, wildfires are burning, flights are canceled, and crops are dying. ”
    ———-
    Are people dying from heat OR from Vodka, other hard drinks and drowning?
    See here, here.

    Here is what alcohol is estimated to do in Russia each year:

    “Such booze-induced accidents are typical in Russia, where, according to some estimates, alcohol is responsible for over 400,000 deaths a year—whether through heart disease, accidents, suicides or murders.”
    Source: The Economist 29 July, 2010

  51. Too often we lose sight of the past and precedence of such events. Too often there is the conclusion that we experience “unprecedented heat waves”…… – Anthony

    This is what I keep reminding alarmists about, the past:
    Global death toll from extreme weather events is declining

    http://www.thegwpf.org/the-observatory/1378-indur-m-goklany-global-death-toll-from-extreme-weather-events-declining.html

    The world’s worst natural disasters going back 900 years

    http://across.co.nz/WorldsWorstDisasters.html

    Top ten world’s worst natural disasters

    http://www.dailycognition.com/index.php/2009/01/29/top-ten-worst-natural-disasters.html

    The world’s the deadliest nautural disasters recorded

    http://www.armageddononline.org/the-worst-disasters.html

    Disaster overview

    http://www.deathreference.com/Da-Em/Disasters.html

    Famines since 440 BC

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines

    —————————————–
    Epic disasters

    http://www.epicdisasters.com/

    Has There Been An Increase In the Number of Natural Disasters?
    “So have there been more natural disasters in recent years? In a word, NO.
    What we have, rather, is an increase in our ability to detect hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.”
    —————————————–
    Ten worst floods in history

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/flooding/tenworst.shtml

    Five worst forest fires

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/forestfires/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst hurricanes in history

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/hurricanes/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst tornadoes in history

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/tornadoes/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst avalanches in history

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/avalanches/tenworst.shtml

    Ten worst landslides in history

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/landslides/tenworst.shtml

    Worst natural disasters in history

    http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/worstdisasters.shtml

  52. Alex:
    2. This happened NEVER, just NEVER before in Moscow.
    __________________________________________
    I dont buy this. if you go through Russian history the fires and heat waves are a frequent occurence. Many famous Russian writers write about. It looks like a constant to me in that region. If I am not mistaken someone in an earlier posting on the Russian heatwave made a posting listen some of them.

  53. Debate settled…
    According to our very own Sec. of State, weather IS climate…or something.

    “Clinton said that on top of the Pakistan floods, which have forced millions out of their homes, the forest fires in Russia stand as another example. She said there’s no “direct link” between the disasters in Pakistan and Russia but that “when you have the changes in climate that affect weather that we’re now seeing, I think the predictions of more natural disasters are unfortunately being played out.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/21/clinton-links-pakistan-floods-climate-change/

    JimB

  54. People are incredible, they don’t remember anything before they were born or after they die. They think that they’re the only ones who ever had it good or bad. This has simply got to change! This is a lazy, inexcusable habit that simply has to change. Wake up!

  55. Pascvaks :
    Some of them do not remember things that happen while they are alive. Each and every event is the worst or best that ever happened depending on which side of the fence they are on and which fantasy they want to believe in.

  56. The Pakistan/China/Iowa floods and the heat wave in Russia are prime examples of weather perturbed by volcanic activity. 5 VEI-4 eruptions in ’08 ’09 and then along comes Eyjafjallajökull. It could have been a lot worse. I’m just grateful it wasn’t.

  57. richard telford says:
    August 22, 2010 at 2:44 am

    REPLY: You really ought to read the whole article before jumping to an erroneous conclusion and making an accusation that I “made it up”. By definition, a heat wave is duration based.
    ———————————-
    “Nowhere in this article do you justify describing this as the worst heat wave. Your sources do not use the word “worst”. It would be reasonable to define worst in terms of mortality or economic/ecological damage. Its not reasonable to make up the definition.”

    Give yourself a break and drop the strawman. Anthony refers to temperature and global warming, not mortality or damage, and Marble holds the *world record* for *heat*wave. In context, it is the “worst”.

  58. Something not being mentioned much in the context of the Moscow heatwaves is that Moscow tends to either have a rubbish summer or a heatwave. This one is particularly long-lasting – and hence, particularly warm – but the basic conditions for the weather around Moscow to lock into sunny&hot for weeks at a time are commonplace.

  59. richard telford says:
    August 22, 2010 at 2:44 am
    “[...]Nowhere in this article do you justify describing this as the worst heat wave. Your sources do not use the word “worst”. It would be reasonable to define worst in terms of mortality or economic/ecological damage. Its not reasonable to make up the definition.”

    Do you complain to the NYT, the BBC, the ABC etc. etc. to hold them up to your high standard every time they report to a worst this or a worst that?

  60. Anthony…. I think our disagreement comes in with your description of this as being the “world’s worst” heatwave. Had you just stated it was the world’s longest heatwave, everyone could agree. It was certainly a newsworthy event but you put a human suffering connotation to it by using the word worst.

    I find it hard to believe that the few residents of Marble Bar who were used to an AVERAGE of 154 days per year of 100F+ temperatures suffered more than the residents of Moscow who had NEVER experienced a 100 degree day and were used to highs in the low 70s.

    Perhaps I spoke in haste when I said the post should not have been on WUWT, when I only take exception to the title of the post.

    REPLY: OK fair enough, I can see your side of the argument. My view is that duration plus the temperatures (especially the lows) made it the worst. Unfortunately, unlike hurricane or earthquake scales, there is no heat wave scale that I’m aware of…but I’ve been thinking about how to create one to quanitify “worstness”. ;-)

    – Anthony

  61. LucVC and Alex

    Courtesy of WUWT bloggers, a translation from Russian of accounts of previous fires

    Here are some interesting historical accounts of forest and peat fires in Russia dating back to the 13th century. There occur every few decades. I can’t be bothered to translate it all, but have translated a selection. If you have any doubts, you can find yourself a translator. As for death rates, one can only guess.

    1298: There was a wholesale death of animals. In the same year there was a drought, and the woods and peat bogs burnt.

    1364: Halfway through summer there was a complete smoke haze, the heat was dreadful, the forests, bogs and earth were burning, rivers dried up. The same thing happened the following year . . .

    1431: following a blotting out of the sky, and pillars of fire, there was a drought – “the earth and the bogs smouldered, there was no clear sky for 6 weeks, nobody saw the sun, fishes, animals and birds died of the smoke.

    1735: Empress Anna wrote to General Ushakov: “Andrei Ivanovich, here in St Petersburg it is so smoky that one cannot open the windows, and all because, just like last year, the forests are burning. We are surprised that no-one has thought about how to stem the fires, which are burning for the second year in a row”.

    1831: Summer was unbearably hot, and as a consequence of numerous fires in the forests, there was a constant haze of smoke in the air, through which the sun appeared a red hot ball; the smell of burning was so strong, that it was difficult to breathe.

    The years of 1839-1841 were known as the “hungry years”. In the spring of 1840, the spring sowings of corn disappeared in many places. From midway through April until the end of August not a drop of rain fell. From the beginning of summer the fields were covered with a dirty grey film of dust. All the plants wilted, dying from the heat and lack of water. It was extraordinarily hot and close, even though the sun, being covered in haze, shone very weakly through the haze of smoke. Here and there in various regions of Russia the forests and peat bogs were burning (the firest had begun already in 1839). there was a reddish haze, partially covering the sun, and there were dark, menacing clouds on the horizon. There was a choking stench of smoke which penetrated everywhere, even into houses where the windows remained closed.

    1868: the weather was murderous. It rained once during the summer. There was a drought. The sun, like a red hot cinder, glowed through the clouds of smoke from the peat bogs. Near Peterhoff the forests and peat workings burnt, and troops dug trenches and flooded the subterranean fire. It was 40 centigrade in the open, and 28 in the shade.

    1868: a prolonged drought in the northern regions was accompanied by devastating fires in various regions. Apart from the cities and villages affected by this catastrophe, the forests, peat workings and dried-up marshes were burning. In St Petersburg region smoke filled the city and its outlying districts for several weeks.

    1875: While in western europe there is continual rain and they complain about the cold summer, here in Russia there is a terrible drought. In southern Russia all the cereal and fruit crops have died, and around St Petersburg the forest fires are such that in the city itself, especially in the evening, there is a thick haze of smoke and a smell of burning. Yesterday, the burning woods and peat bogs threatened the ammunitiion stores of the artillery range and even Okhtensk gunpowder factory.

    1885: (in a letter from Peter Tchaikovsky, composer): I’m writing to you at three oclock in the afternoon in such darkness, you would think it was nine oclock at night. For several days, the horizon has been enveloped in a smoke haze, arising, they say, from fires in the forest and peat bogs. Visibility is diminishing by the day, and I’m starting to fear that we might even die of suffocation.

    1917 (diary of Aleksandr Blok, poet): There is a smell of burning, as it seems, all around the city peat bogs, undergrowth and trees are burning. And no-one can extinguish it. That will be done only by rain and the winter. Yellowish-brown clouds of smoke envelope the villages, wide swaithes of undergrowth are burning, and God sends no rain, and what wheat there is in the fields is burning.

  62. marchesarosa says:
    August 22, 2010 at 8:49 am
    LucVC and Alex

    Courtesy of WUWT bloggers, a translation from Russian of accounts of previous fires
    //////////////////

    Hi marchesarosa,

    There are relatively regular fires in forests and peat bogs in Russia. I witnessed one of the worst years till now, 1972. However, what happened this year WAS UNPRECEDENTAL.

    There is NOTHING comparable in written history of Russia. This means, at least for 1000 years:

    http://www.rbcdaily.ru/2010/08/09/cnews/500943

    You read, this July was 4 sigma out of norm. This means, such a July, statistically, may happen once in e^16=9 Millions years!

    Clearly, something was wrong with THE CLIMATE this year. It is CLIMATE, not wheather, because the problems were all over the world, in both directions! It is important to understand, WHAT is the reason (no CO2 nonsense, of course).

    I am very afraid, this winter will be EXTREMELY cold in Russia. I saw anormous amount of rowanberries in Moscow. This is usually a good hint for a very cold winter coming…

  63. There are tens of thousands of cities on earth. Statistically speaking, we would expect that every year a significant number of them would have their “hottest summer ever.” It is nonsensical to blame Moscow on global warming, which is exactly why politicians are doing it.

    160 straight days (almost half a year) of 100+ temperatures would be intolerable. At least in Phoenix they have mountains within an hour’s drive to escape the heat. Can’t do that in Marble Bar.

  64. Could Anthony’s system of rigorously examining the siting of recording instruments throw any new light on this high temperature record and period?
    Would it be worth bothering about?

  65. I still think the bottom line for temperature increase is in the smoothed HadCrut3 global average temperature anomaly data which seems to show about a 0.7 deg C increase since 1880 (and also since about 1925 due to the dip around 1910.) This is, I suspect, less than the cut-in to cut-out temperature range of a typical household thermostat .

  66. The 1936 Heat wave in the United States has never been surpassed. Fifteen states absolute-maximun temperature records still stand today. Reading of 120 degrees or higher were recorded in Arizon, Arkansas , California, Kansas, Oklahoma , South Dakota, Texax and North Dakota where the temperature peaked at 121 degrees. Thirty eight cities hit record from 104 to 121 degrees.
    On August 1, 1980 South Eastern Virginia hit 105 degrees and broke records in that six day period.

  67. People will always find some evidence to support their religion.

    Even if the earth sinks into an ice age, the true believers will still find a hot day here and there to offer up to their gods.

  68. It seems highly likely that such hot spells in the region around Moscow happen quite frequently but who knows how hot it gets where the thermometers aren’t?

  69. I love your site and profusely thank you for your commitment to exposing AGW as the fraud it is…and may I ask you a favor?

    Please include Fahrenheit readings.

    Thanks

  70. In the case of the AGW alarm, I am not sure that fraud is quite the right word. There are always some people so dedicated to a cause or belief that they may think that it is OK to “tell a lie to tell the Truth.” This is usually equivalent an attempt to build a castle on a foundation of winter ice. Perhaps this alarm is better described as a modern technical superstition.

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