GISS, NOAA, GHCN and the odd Russian temperature anomaly – "It's all pipes!"

UPDATE: A good photo of one of the Russian stations has been found, see below after the “read more” link.

As most readers know by now, the problematic GISTEMP global temperature anomaly plot for October is heavily weighted by temperatures from weather stations in Russia.


GISTEMP 11-12-08 – Click for larger image

Like in the USA, weather stations tend to be distributed according to population density, with the more populated western portion of Russia having more weather stations than the less populated eastern areas such as Siberia. To illustrate this, here is a plot of Russian Weather Station locations from the University of Melbourne:


Click picture for larger image, source image is here

Interestingly, the greatest magnitude of the GISTEMP anomaly plot for October is in these mostly unpopulated areas where the weather station density is the lowest. While I was pondering this curiosity, one of the WUWT readers, Corky Boyd, did a little research and passed this along in email:

…Posters at Watts Up have commented on the ongoing consistently high anomalous temperatures from Russia. I have noticed this too.  In light of the erroneously posted data for October, I took a look at the monthly NCDC climate reports back to January 2007.  By my eyeball estimate the results from Russia are almost all on the high side. .  Some I classified as very highs are massively high.  Of the 21 months reported, only 2 appeared to be below average.

Category 2007 2008 (9 months)

Very high                     6                        4

High                            3                        1

Average                      2                        3

Low                            0                        1

Very Low                    1                        0

Is there a way to validate or invalidate GISS data  by comparing it to RISS?   Does it strike you as odd that the verifiably erroneous data has shown up in the same area that was suspect in the first place?  Could there be a pattern?

Corky also sent along a series of images depicting global near surface and ocean temperature anomalies from NOAA. Here is the most recent one from September 2008:


I was curious if indeed there was any pattern to the Russian anomaly, so I decided to animate the last year and a half worth of images. You can see this animation below. It is about 1 megabyte in size, so please be patient while it downloads.


Click for full sized animation

What I found interesting was that the January 2007 anomaly (the last time we had a “global heat wave”) was primarily in the northern Russian and Asian. According to January 2007 UAH satellite anomaly data, the Northern Hemisphere had a whopping anomaly of +1.08°C and the “northern extent” was even greater at +1.27°C, the largest anomaly ever in the Northern Extent dataset

Curiously though, the very next month, the Russian anomaly virtually disappears and is replacing with cooling, though a sharp boundary to warming now exists in Asia. It was as if somebody threw a switch in Russia.


Click for larger images

In March 2008, a very large positive anomaly returned in Russia, and again in April evaporated with the same abruptness as the Jan-Feb 2007 transition. Again almost as if a switch was thrown.


Click for larger images

Such abrupt repeated changes don’t seem fully natural to me, particularly when they occur over the same geographic location twice. I realize that two events don’t make a trend, but it is curious, given that we now have had a problem with Russian weather data again that caused GISS to announce the “hottest October on record”.

I also noticed that in the animation from the anomaly maps, there does not seem to be much of an anomaly in the summer months.

This made me wonder what some of those weather stations in Russia might be like. So I went to the Russian Meteorological Institute website at

I know from John Goetz work as well as this artcle in Nature that Russian weather stations had been closing with regularity due to the trickle down effects of collapse in the former Soviet Union. Though some new ones are being built by outside agencies, such as this one sponsored by NOAA in Tiksi, Russia.

Click for a larger image

What I found interesting in the NOAA press release on Tiksi, was this image, showing weather stations clustered around the Arctic:

Click for a larger image

The interesting thing is that all these stations are manned and heated. The instruments appear to be “on” the buildings themselves, though it is hard to tell. One wonders how much of the building heat in this tiny island of humanity makes it to the sensors. The need for a manned weather station in the Arctic always comes with a need for heat.

I was hoping my visit to the Russian Meteorological institute website might have some particulars on the remaining weather stations that have not been closed. I didn’t find that, but what I did find was a study they posted that seems to point to a significant warm temperature anomaly in Russia during winters between 1961 to 1998:


Fig. 1. Linear trend coefficient (days/10 years) in the series of days with abnormally high air temperatures in winter (December-February), 1961-1998.

From the Russian study they write:

For the winter period 1961-1998, most of the stations under considerations exhibit a tendency for fewer minimum temperature extremes. Maximum (in absolute value) coefficients of the linear trend were obtained in the south of the country and in eastern Yakutia.

Whenever I read about elevated minimum temperatures, I tend to suspect some sort of human influences such as UHI, station siting, or irrigation (humidity) which tend to affect Tmin more than Tmax.

In Northern Russia Siberia, I wouldn’t expect much in the way of irrigation. So that leaves station siting and UHI as possible biases. UHI seemed doubtful, given that many of these Russian Stations in Siberia are in remote areas and small towns.

So I decided to put Google Earth to work to see what I could see. One of the stations mentioned in a recent post at Climate Audit cited the station of Verhojansk, Russia, which has  temperatures conveniently online here at Weather Underground.

From the Navy Meteorological exercise I found that Verhojansk has a wide variance in temperature:

Verkhojansk is located in a treeless shallow valley. There is snow on the ground during winter months; it melts in the spring. Verhojansk experiences the coldest winter temperatures of any official weather station outside of Antarctica. Verhojansk has Earth’s most extreme temperature contrast (65oC) between summer and winter. Which of the following indirect factors contribute to this extreme seasonal variation?

From the GHCN station inventory file at NCDC I found that Verhojansk, Russia had a lat/lon of 67.55 133.38 which when I put it in Google Earth, ended up in a mud flat. The Google Maps link from Weather Underground was no better, also off in a field.

Looking in NCDC’s MMS station database yeilded better luck, and I found a more precise lat/lon of 67.55,133.38333 There was very little other helpful information there on the station.

The station appeared to be located in town, though I have no way of verifying the exact location. The lat/lon may be imprecise. But something curious popped out at me as I was scanning the Google Earth image of Verhojansk looking for what might be a weather station – it looks like pipes running across the surface:


Click for larger image

These “pipes” appear to go all over town. Here is a closer view, note the arrow to what I think might be the weather station location based on the fencing, objects on the ground that could be rain gauges or shelters, and what looks like an instrument tower:


Click for larger image

I was curious about what these pipes could be, it certainly didn’t look like oil pipelines, and why where they so close to houses and building and seem to network all over town. Doing a little research on Russian history, I found my answer in the pervasive “central planning” thinking that characterized Russian government and infrastructure. It’s called “District Heating

From Wikipedia:

District heating (less commonly called teleheating) is a system for distributing heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements such as space heating and water heating.

But for Russia there was this caveat:


In most Russian cities, district-level combined heat and power plants (Russian: ТЭЦ, Тепло-электро централь) produce more than 50 % of the nation’s electricity and simultaneously provide hot water for neighbouring city blocks. They mostly use coal and oil-powered steam turbines for cogeneration of heat. Now, gas turbines and combined cycle designs are beginning to be widely used as well. A Soviet-era approach of using very large central stations to heat large districts of a big city or entire small cities is fading away as due to inefficiency, much heat is lost in the piping network because of leakages and lack of proper thermal insulation [10].

I should also point out that district heating is not limited to Russia, but is in many northern European countries. It seems quite prevalent in cold Euro-climates, and even extends into Great Britain.

So I searched a bit more, and found some pictures of what Russian district heating looks like from the ground. Here is one from Picasaweb from somebody’s trip to Russia:

The caption was telling: Smaller Russian era dwelling - blue is typical colour. Pipes outside are for the steam heat that is distributed to all buildings.

Click for source image.

Note the pipes in the photo above are not insulated.

I also found a very interesting picture of steam pipes, also uninsulated, from a trip report to the “hot zone” of Chernobyl:

Caption: Driving through Chernobyl. Steam pipes carry heat through the city

And finally a picture of Krasnoyarsk thermal power station Number 1 that has recently been in the news, according to Reuters due to a burst steam pipe:

Caption: A general view shows the Krasnoyarsk thermal power station Number 1 where a main pipeline burst depriving some ten thousand people of central heating, January 5, 2008. The flats of tens of thousands of people in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk and some of its suburbs continue to stay cold for the second day at temperatures of about -20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) after a pipeline rupture in a thermal power station that supplies the central heating system, the Emergencies Ministry told local media. Source: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin (RUSSIA)

Click for larger image – Note the pipes coming out to the left of the power station. You can see steam pipes around the city in this Google Maps view here.

So all this begs the question:

If Russian weather stations are located in cities that have this district heating plan, and a good percentage of the pipes are uninsulated, how much of the waste heat from the pipes ends up creating a local micro-climate of warmth?

Remember when I said that the NOAA map anomalies centered over Russia seemed to be prevalent in winter but not summer? It stands to reason that as winter temperature gets colder, more waste heat is dumped out of these inefficient systems to meet the demand. Basically, we have an active UHI situation in the city that increases in output as temperatures drop.

In the areal photos above of Verhojansk, it appears that some pipes are insulated (white, what appears to be main lines) while others are rust brown, and appear near buildings and dwellings.

I got to thinking about why these pipes might be uninsulated. First there is the classic inefficiency and carelessness of Soviet workmanship, but another thought occurred to me: Russian people might like it that way. Why? Well imagine a place where you walk to the market every day, even in subzero temperatures. Since many of these pipes seem to follow streets and sidewalks, wouldn’t it be a more pleasant walk in winter next to a nice toasty steam pipe?

Steve Mcintyre wrote about this station at Climate Audit, citing a puzzle in the data, here is an excerpt of his post:


Now there are many puzzles in GHCN adjustments, to say the least, and these adjustments are inhaled into GISS. Verhojansk is in the heart of the Siberian “hot spot”, presently a balmy minus 22 deg C. The graphics below compare GISS dset0 in the most recent scribal version to GISS dset 2 (showing identity other than small discrepancies at the start of the segment); the right compares GISS dset0 to the GHCN-Daily Average.

Over the past 20 years, the GISS version (presumably obtained from GHCN monthly) has risen 1.7 deg C (!) relative to the average taken from GHCN Daily results.

Left- GISS dset 2 minus Giss dset0 [[7]]; fight – Giss minus GHCN Daily

What causes this? I have no idea.

Maybe it’s the steam pipes. We need to send somebody to Russia to find out. Of the many station lat/lons I looked at, Verhojansk was the only one I found with enough Google Earth resolution to see the steam pipes. Maybe the heart of our Russian temperature anomaly lies in central heating.

George Costanza could be right.

UPDATE: The photo below shows the Verhojansk Meteorological station and it’s instruments.  Hat tip to Jeff C. for the photo below:

Direct URL to the photo above here

Note the cable going to the Stevenson Screen suggesting automated readings. Also note the vertical plume at left.

The station can be seen from Google Earth here

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Terry Ward
November 15, 2008 3:31 pm

The heat wave in China earlier this year springs to mind.

November 15, 2008 3:46 pm

Well, by definition, if GISS/Hansen is recording the “averages” for each month, and get (by mystical means of magically (er, mathematically) manipulating the values into his plots, one would expect that, over time, :
Half would be above average.
Half would be below average.
Here – over a long time period when both the US AND CANADA Arctic temperatures are BELOW average for similar development and near-identical cold-weather-blowing-from-the-north patterns, only one reading is “very low”, and almost all are above average.
Or, his original “average” (baseline) temperature for Siberia is simply dead wrong. That is, Hansen “thinks” the baseline for Siberia is 1-2 degrees COLDER than it really is.
So: What is his baseline for the NW Torritories? central Alaska, Hudson Bay, and the North Greenland slopes? What is Hansen’s theorectical baseline/working baseline for his Siberia thermometers?
Methinks something sticks in Denmark. Er, Russia.
And Maryland/Columbia University’s science departments.

Ron de Haan
November 15, 2008 3:58 pm

This article clearly asks for a Russian extension of
What the heck, why don’t you go Global and start your own “shadow network”.

November 15, 2008 4:02 pm

You’ve done it.
By God. You’ve done it.
You sir, are really something.

November 15, 2008 4:02 pm

Until the [taxpayer funded] raw data is publicly archived in real time, the credibility of GISS will continue to be negatively impacted.

Chris Ballance
November 15, 2008 4:02 pm

OK. I am boiler engineer with two weeks of vacation and a ton of airline miles. I don’t speak Russian, but I do have some Russian connections through work and friends. I don’t yet have a clue how I could get to Verhojansk in the middle of winter but I am up for the adventure.

November 15, 2008 4:03 pm

Isn’t the Arctic Ocean near northern Russia, in particular Siberia? Can’t we just watch the Arctic ice sheet grow almost daily? I wonder what the problem is with the temperature monitoring because it doesn’t seem to square with the physical evidence. I wonder, did the temperature gurus think of that?
Maybe they will make the satellite data unavailable to normal folks, that would solve this pesky problem wouldn’t it.

November 15, 2008 4:05 pm

Digging a little deeper, it looks like you’ve also found the hiding place of Santer’s reindeer.

Verkhoyansk is a town in the Sakha Republic, Russia, situated on the Yana River, near the Arctic Circle, 675 km from Yakutsk. There is river port, an airport, a fur-collecting depot, and the center of a reindeer-raising area. Population: 1,434 (2002 Census).

November 15, 2008 4:06 pm

Chris Ballance,
In Soviet Russia, adventure gets you.

D Caldwell
November 15, 2008 4:06 pm

It’s human nature to readily accept information consistent with your beliefs. As long as the global surface station data in total continues to show warming, NOAA and NASA will continue to assume it to be accurate without challange.
If (God forbid) global temps were to go into a prolonged cooling, they would be challenging and scrubbing weather station data like crazy.

Harold Ambler
November 15, 2008 4:06 pm

Beautiful work, Anthony. One of the many interesting details is in your sentence below:
Over the past 20 years, the GISS version (presumably obtained from GHCN monthly) has risen 1.7 deg C (!) relative to the average taken from GHCN Daily results.
Why 20 years, one wonders, as the start date of the temperature spike? Among the possibilities is a political one: That under Gorbachev more energy was made available to keep the newly freer population a little warmer in winter, as the military stopped getting such a big piece of the energy pie.
Another possibility: The energy boom in Siberia brought greater population to towns that had lost population, and the pipes were turned on for more buildings than in generations.
Another possibility, comes courtesy of Al Gore (ironically).
Below is from a BBC article by By Leonid Ragozin:
“Do you know what is the brightest place on Earth in satellite images?” asks Aleksey Yablokov, leader of the new Green Russia party.
“Not Los Angeles, not Tokyo. It’s western Siberia.”
The vast expanses of this sparsely populated region are lit by the flares of associated gas burned at oil wells.
“I once flew there by night – the view was unforgettable. But these flares killed not millions, but billions of migrating birds”, says Mr Yablokov, one of Russia’s leading biologists and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Former US Vice-President Al Gore called Siberian oil flares one of the main causes of global warming, in his book Earth In The Balance.
The number of oil wells where gas is being burned has fallen considerably with the arrival of modern oil extraction technology in the post-Soviet era, Mr Yablokov admits.
But he estimates that about 20,000 such flares are still lighting up the taiga (virgin forest).

I hope that Hansen et al. will show gratitude for this groundbreaking research.

steven mosher
November 15, 2008 4:08 pm

Brilliant youtube selection. and good detective work. while searching for how to get to the site I stumbled on this:
Scroll down and find the Stevenson screen at oymyakon or as GISS has it
647 km from the site in question.
Probably want to check all the sites within 1200km..starting with dzardzan

November 15, 2008 4:09 pm

These pipes are present in every Soviet built city that I visited in the Russian Fareast during the 1990’s.
As I remember it was generally insulated, but usually rusty. The stuff in the google images looks pristine in comparison (must be oil money).
I have wondered about the heat loss in recent years as I noted the anomalies over there.
Good catch Anthony.

November 15, 2008 4:10 pm

We have plenty of Russians living in my neighborhood. The only trick will be thinking of a pertinent question to ask.
Once I find one of them who lived around district heating what then?
I’m serious. We have a Russian church and the street is lined with cars from church goers every Sunday.
How about, “Was it warmer walking to the market under the distict heating pipes? Did people alter their route to walk under the pipes during the cold months?”

November 15, 2008 4:11 pm

Due to recent career modification, I am also able to (gulp) volunteer to go on “Tour” of Siberia, but could we wait till late spring? Maybe summer?

November 15, 2008 4:13 pm

Being a guy who spends a bit of time around insulated pipes, while I obviously can’t be certain given the size & resolution of the picture, those ‘chernobyl’ pipes certainly look insulated to me. They wrap insulation around the pipes, then seal them with stainless sheeting, with the goal of keeping the insulation dry to prevent corrosion.

Pamela Gray
November 15, 2008 4:40 pm

One of my favorite places is Britenbush, a eh em, hot spring area in Oregon. All heated with piped in steaming hot water from the hot springs. You can tell where the underground pipes are located because the snow melts along the track. Were they above ground, it would mean that I could walk from my bedroom only cabin to the bathroom without freezing. And even more important, I could walk to the clothing optional bathing areas without freezing my little radio dials off. Good idea that Russian system.

Mike McMillan
November 15, 2008 4:43 pm

Spam (16:13:36) :
. . . those ‘chernobyl’ pipes certainly look insulated to me. They wrap insulation around the pipes, then seal them with stainless sheeting, with the goal of keeping the insulation dry to prevent corrosion.
We had the same central system at a northern-tier air base where I was stationed back in the 70’s. The pipes were wrapped with several inches of corrugated asbestos, something like corrugated cardboard, then protected with stainless steel sheet.

Robert in Calgary
November 15, 2008 4:45 pm

I’m not sure if this is the “tipping point” Hansen had in mind.
Wouldn’t you like to be in the room when Hansen hears about this?
If they don’t bother checking station sites in the USA……

November 15, 2008 4:56 pm

I assume that it’s a coincidence that the temperature graph of Ojmjakon that Steve posted is similar to the USA temperature anomaly (posted yesterday)that shows the 30s as being higher or equal to the present.

November 15, 2008 4:57 pm

I’ve been thinking about this ever since we saw the nutty GISSTEMP numbers for Russia… Doesn’t it behoove Putin (or his surrogate/puppet?) to “drive” the AGW agenda with high temps across Russia? We (USA, my bias), with Hansen at the helm, drive capitalism into dissarray on the “science”… Putin waits it out with his vast oil cache and substantial re$erves until such time as… [fill in the blank]…
Maybe it was just a bad dream…

Harold Ambler
November 15, 2008 4:57 pm

You know, I should have read the sentence I was trying to comment upon a few more times.
Over the past 20 years, the GISS version (presumably obtained from GHCN monthly) has risen 1.7 deg C (!) relative to the average taken from GHCN Daily results.
Does the GHCN data show an unexplained high anomaly that GISS then ramps up further? Are these two unexplained mysteries?

Alan S. Blue
November 15, 2008 5:01 pm

If you poke around at, there’s a set of satellite pictures indicating NH snow coverage.
I seem to remember being puzzled over the discrepancy between snow coverage and reported ground temperatures.
REPLY: Its not about absolute temperature, its about temperature anomaly. Some people get the idea that those “red” areas mean the Arctic is actually warm.
So for some town in Siberia, a significant anomaly is an average daily temperature of -20°C up from the “normal” of -25°C.
Snow on the ground in either case.
But the folks that see red in GISS graphs and think “warm, melting” are the same ones that undertake expeditions to the Arctic in Kayaks, like Mr. Pugh. – Anthony

November 15, 2008 5:01 pm

uht oh, my bogus html tags “nutty_international_consipracy_theory_on/off” got nuked!

November 15, 2008 5:14 pm

Are those pipes full of steam? They must be insulated otherwise the surfaces would be a burn hazard. The question is how well insulated they are. Insulation doesn’t bring heat loss down to zero.

Bill Illis
November 15, 2008 5:38 pm

Man, this is good stuff. How can there be such a wide-ranging changes – up, down and sideways. There are obviously huge problems with quality in the Russian temp series and I suspect the problems such as building heating, moving temp measuring devices closer to the buildings are the source of the problems as you noted.
I remember China having a bitterly cold winter this year, Jan, Feb and March, which extended into Siberia for parts of this time period, yet it is does not show up hardly at all in the NCDC animation. (side-note, the animations make a huge difference in our understanding of what is going on so keep ’em coming.)

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 5:39 pm

Wondering if NASA has any FLIR images of Siberia with sufficient resolution to spot these pipes?

November 15, 2008 5:41 pm

Sometimes I wonder if the OPEC leaders could have been ignorant enough not to feed lots of money to the Environmental Activist world. But those times are few and far between. The Russians claim they sent more money to the U.S. anti-Vietnam-war activists than they sent as war supplies to the N. Vietnamese. The FBI and the CIA never found out how or if they did it. The OPEC guys could have bought the Russ. methods before they began working to ensure that we would be dumb enough to become dependant on them instead of on our domestic production. Or maybe they felt no need to be secretive because the knew the MSM would never follow the money into the Enviro-activist world. And the gov. doesn’t audit the Enviros, to the best of my knowledge.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 5:41 pm

Used for enhancing satellite imaging — The National Security Agency (NSA) utilizes the infrared FLIR technology in satellite devices, to monitor activity in foreign countries. These same infrared equipped satellites are also used to monitor storm activity and environmental patterns. The military also has access to this technology to review potential targets and to survey perimeter security.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 5:57 pm

Very good article in Moscow News about the state of Russia’s heating districts and challenges.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 6:03 pm

Google “Ater satellite image” to see some nice FLIR images from space.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 6:03 pm

sorry “Aster satellite image”

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 6:09 pm

Here is The ASTER home page… there is a “data acquisition request” button.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 6:10 pm
Mike Monce
November 15, 2008 6:18 pm

This is a brillant piece of detective work. It offers a plausible hypothesis to an observed possible problem. The questions posed with this article REALLY need to be answered by NOAA. They are reasonable, well-documented, and well-thought out. Any scientist worth their salt would be taken aback by this article and, I hope, would respond: “Wow, I never considered that before!”

Ray Reynolds
November 15, 2008 6:26 pm

I am shaking my head in amazement.
How blind or incompetant ( or the cynic, dishonest) can GISS/NOAA be? I have wondered, knowing the faults Anthony et al has found close to home, what the state of weather station thruout the world held. Now we get a picture.
Thank! congratulations, this revelations needs widespread exposure.

November 15, 2008 6:26 pm

A very interesting post, and I suspect you are onto something.
But I think readers should bear in mind e.g. the following comparison:
and also e.g.
i.e. northern Siberia does seem to have shown a cyclical pattern from mild in the 1930s/40s to cold in the 50s-80s to mild again in the 90s/00s.
So part of the problem with the anomalies may be that the baselines of 1951-80 or 1961-90 give a false impression of what is “normal”.
Also, it seems to me that the surface records of S/SE Asia, Australia and Antarctica (amongst others) could also be worthy of more attention [c.f. my earlier comparison of GISS maps]
Re: “….UHI seemed doubtful, given that many of these Russian Stations in Siberia are in remote areas and small towns….”
I’m less doubtful. On this point, I hope you may indulge a repeat of my earlier post on another thread.
Chris (16:21:41) :
More on Base Esperanza: [Antarctica]
“……The temperature trend since 1948 is……..” [warming]
“……Built in 1975, the base houses 55 inhabitants in winter, including 10 families and 2 school teachers. Provincial school #38 “Julio Argentino Roca” was founded in 1978 and acquired independent status in 1997. The LRA 36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel radio station started transmitting in 1979…..”
“……The 43 buildings of the station have a combined space of 374,400 square metres (4,030,000 sq ft) covered; 18,000 litres (4,800 US gal) of fuel are used annually by the 4 generators to produce electricity for the station…..”
“…….The Base has tourist facilities that are visited by approximately 1,100 tourists each year…….”
Not urban heat effects again surely?
re: Barrow, Alaska
“…On a daily basis, the UHI is best developed under calm, cold conditions and can reach hourly magnitudes exceeding 9 °C; this reflects the increased (anthropogenic) heat input at this high-latitude site…”
Population of Barrow? 3,982.” [Verkhoyansk 1,434]

November 15, 2008 6:47 pm

Jason Salit (16:57:12) :
I had the same conspiracy theory thought the other day that Putin might want to inflate numbers to encourage the West (mainly the USA) to pursue cap and trade/taxes to drive the US economy down. However, that would diminish worldwide demand and Russian oil revenues, so for that reason I’m not sure the conspiracy makes sense. But I’m sure there are other factors that might keep my conspiricay theory alive. Is Putin in the Carbon trading business?

November 15, 2008 6:47 pm

Great work Folks!
Regards of the pipe insulation,
the “hot primary” does not need insulation, but the return
“cold secondary” does need it to prevent freezing over and
cracking of the pipe.

chris ballance
November 15, 2008 6:47 pm

If the temperature anomaly is caused by the district heating system then the anomaly will be most noticable during the fall and spring.

November 15, 2008 6:50 pm

Something tells me it isn’t the pipes causing the anomaly. Now I can see something like measurement devices mounted too close to a building or on a roof of a poorly insulated building being a problem. But I don’t think just having those heat pipes in the same town would cause a difference of an entire degree of difference. But then again, maybe it could on a calm night with some cloud cover cause the nighttime temperature of that town to be a degree higher than it might otherwise be.
But one would think that such a heat source would cause an updraft and that colder air from the area surrounding the town would be drawn in to replace it. The result being that temperatures would remain pretty much unchanged.

November 15, 2008 6:52 pm

If you will go to, you will find a picture and the location of the “Meteo” station. Also, examination of several of the other available pictures will give you a better understanding of the Russian Arctic.

Bruce Foutch
November 15, 2008 7:14 pm

Mr. Watts,
You made a British paper:
REPLY: WUWT commenter Chris and John Goetz deserve all the credit here, I was driving in Nevada on Highway 50 at the time of the discovery. Steve McIntyre also deserves more credit. I was just a spectator while my blog went on without me. The best you could say was that WUWT was a facilitator to the discovery. – Anthony

Jack Simmons
November 15, 2008 7:18 pm

This is such a fascinating story.
Here in the United States, our temperature monitoring systems are contaminated by poor siting, neglect, urban sprawl and barbecue pits.
In the former Soviet Union, we have an antiquated heating system.
In both regions, the number of stations are dropping.
Could it be, in the near future, we will have a single station reporting for both countries? It certainly makes sense in these economically stressed times to cut down on the number of reporting stations. It also much more convenient to ‘adjust’ the readings if we are down to a single station for both countries. To estimate the temperatures for Denver, based on the nation’s single site in Columbus, we simply adjust for the distance.
Seriously, before we commit to billions in carbon taxes, or trades, or whatever you want to call it, shouldn’t we audit the temperature records?
Just a thought.
No matter what is decided, these are the things that will happen:
1) Carbon dioxide levels will continue to go up, no matter what is decided in the U.S. China and India will ignore any of the calls for restraint in CO2 production. The big experiment mankind has embarked on for the effects of CO2 on climate will continue with no end in sight.
2) Carbon dioxide taxes will be enacted in the U.S., not matter what. We could see electricity costs go up by 50% and gasoline costs by up to 25%. No matter what.
The worst of all worlds. Undiminished CO2 production (bad news for the alarmists) and undiminished taxes for this country.
Two years for people to see the consequences of an unrestrained green agenda here in the U.S.

steven mosher
November 15, 2008 7:35 pm

Might want to check the surrounding rural stations. I’ve compared the 3 closest..interesting

Rick Sharp
November 15, 2008 7:45 pm

I spent a couple of winters in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. It is a Russian designed town complete with centralized heating from the powerplant outside town. When it worked it was OK. Sometimes it didn’t, rumor was the Mongolians got a little behind on their fuel payments to the Russians.
Here is a picture
Give me global warming anytime! Looked up Verhojansk on weatherunderground it is -39C and -39F.

November 15, 2008 7:46 pm

Yes yes! The Barrow study is the best example of this type UHI. The latest Hinkel study is 2001-2005 published in 2007. These are my favorite types of research as it is based on empirical data derived from [calibrated] instruments taken in a systematic manner, which I am familiar with.
Little doubt these winter UHI anomalies can result from heat generated in those pipes.
Excellent detective work Anthony.

November 15, 2008 7:48 pm

The Moscow News story, linked above (and repeated here has an interesting quote that is quite relevant:
‘A lot of heat, meanwhile, is lost in bad pipes that are meant to transport the hot water to the residential areas. This problem is particularly acute in Siberia’s permafrost, where pipes are laid above-ground. “I’ve seen people break the wooden casing and wrap the pipes in deer hide because they don’t have anything better to insulate them with,” Bashmakov says.’

November 15, 2008 7:50 pm

Read the Hinkel study; it may surprise many how much UHI can affect thermometer readings in the winter even in a small town. The evidence is incontrovertible, although I’m not saying it is absolutely the case with the Russian situation. It is however a viable hypothesis and should be investigated.

Richard M
November 15, 2008 7:55 pm

From the Russian article:
“Just bringing in the fuel is every expensive,” he says. “There’s no railroads, so trucks are used. Because the equipment is in such a bad condition, there’s often nowhere to store the coal. It’s stored under an open sky, and the wind spreads these gray coal particles all over the village – I’ve seen it in Kolyma, Sakhalin….”

November 15, 2008 8:05 pm
Bruce Foutch
November 15, 2008 8:06 pm
November 15, 2008 8:08 pm

here’s the meteo station Anthony
REPLY: Thanks for supplying it! I searched quite a long time. I must not have had the right key words. – Anthony

John Andrews
November 15, 2008 8:21 pm

In the late 50’s I was stationed in Alaska at Eielson AFB near Fairbanks. This base used a large coal plant to produce steam for local heat in most of the buildings. The pipes were underground and the snow generally melted over the pipeways. There was steam heat in the barracks, too. But one could not moderate the heat in the room because the piping would bang and snap very loudly if the heat was not on full force. So we opened the windows to moderate the temperature. Of course this caused icecycles to form from the eaves and form down to the open window, where we picked off our ice cubes fresh as needed for our beverages. The point is that if energy is free, the users will use it freely, not economically. You can bet your bottom dollar that that is what is happening in these northern Russian towns.

November 15, 2008 8:23 pm

Conclusions from the Hinkel 2007 study:
Analysis of winter temperatures yields the following preliminary conclusions:
1. Based on spatial averages for the period 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2002, the urban area is 2.2 °C warmer than the rural area.
2. In winter, the daily UHIM (Td, u−r) increases with decreasing temperature, reaching a peak value of around 6 °C in January–February. This likely reflects higher energy usage for residential and commercial space heating.
3. The daily UHIM decreases with increasing wind velocity. Under calm conditions (< 4 knots or 2 m s−1) the daily UHIM is 3.2 °C in winter.
4. Daily UHIMs in winter can be predicted using mean daily air temperature for light wind conditions of less than 7 knots (<3.5 m s−1) with a reasonable degree of confidence (r2 = 0.65, p = 0.04).
5. On a daily basis, the UHI is best developed under calm, cold conditions and can reach hourly magnitudes exceeding 9 °C; this reflects the increased (anthropogenic) heat input at this high-latitude site. On very windy days, the temperature field across the study area is uniform.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 8:23 pm

Here is a satellite infrared image that shows small fires in Russia”
The red areas with plumes are the fires, but St Petersburg is the same shade red because of UHI.
Here are some pictures from the Urban Heat Island Pilot Project. It includes an infrared image of Sacramento:

November 15, 2008 8:30 pm

Correction: conclusions posted above were from Hinkel 2003.
From the 2005 study:
[48] Analysis of the 4-year temperature record from 68
sites covering the 150 km2 BUHIS study area yields several
[49] 1. The MUHID at Barrow demonstrates a strong
seasonal pattern, with a well-developed UHI in winter. Slightly negative magnitudes in summer reflect a maritime influence caused by episodic westerly winds.
[50] 2. In winter, the magnitude of the UHI increases with decreasing air temperature and reaches a peak in January- February. There is considerable interannual variability.
[51] 3. On the basis of rural and urban group averages for the period 1 December to 31 March of four winters, the urban area is 2C warmer than the rural area. It is notuncommon for the MUHID to exceed 4C.
[52] 4. The strongest heat islands are associated with calm days. When wind velocity is less than 3 m s1, the median daily MUHI value is 3.0C. Average daily wind of 3–6 m s1 are associated with MUHID values of 2.0– 2.5C, whereas windy days (>9 m s1) have daily MUHIs less than 0.5C.
[53] 5. Warmest temperatures are consistently observed in the urban core area. However, the magnitude and spatial pattern of the UHI is strongly dependent on daily weather conditions. These include wind velocity and direction, mean
daily temperature, and the influence of episodic events such as the opening of near-shore leads in the ice pack. On very windy days, the temperature field across the study area is uniform.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 8:31 pm

I guess the Russian people realize that if they shutdown nuclear and coal they will die in the snow. I hope no one in America thinks this type of response is ever justified.

November 15, 2008 8:40 pm

Though there are obviously many different theories out there as to what could be causing these anomalies, the most important (and suspicious) thing to me is that NH warm anomalies have been so consistent and extreme 1) in one particular area – eastern Russia (sparsely populated), and 2) the warm anomalies have been much greater in winter. This is indicative of something besides simple AGW…

steven mosher
November 15, 2008 8:43 pm
posted at CA
REPLY: Thanks Mosh, I’ll do an update tomorrow.- Anthony

November 15, 2008 8:55 pm

If, as the GISS ‘data’ would seem to indicate, that it is unseasonably warm in Russia, how does this square with reports of increasing Arctic ice cover? Surely if Russia is much warmer as is apparently claimed, then the ice caps should not be ‘recovering’ at the rate they appear to be as per your previous posts on the subject.
Just an observation you understand from an ‘uneducated’ observer, but if this is ‘warming’then it’s the strangest definition of temperature increase that I’ve ever heard of…..
Damned weather isn’t doing what it’s told.

November 15, 2008 8:55 pm

I have no idea how to evaluate the potential impact of this. I do think that the incredible sloppiness of the entire termperature record is an enormous black eye for science. The idea that someone would use that garbage to demand enormous govt policy changes is horrifying.

Mike Bryant
November 15, 2008 8:58 pm

Chris Ballance,
When you go to Russia, don’t forget to take a FLIR camera.

Richard M
November 15, 2008 9:48 pm

I’m a newbie here so I may have missed it, but is it possible to eliminate all Russian sites and look at the anomaly for the “rest of the world”?

November 15, 2008 9:53 pm

All we need to do is look to UAH and RSS.
And remember, those half-a-dozen or so stations up around “old 80” are used to grid points north. So knocking them out eats quite a chunk.
I hear it through the grapevine that NASA is hastily re-revising it all as we spitball. Oh, what fun!
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Goes the farmer’s gun.
Run, Rabbit! Run, Rabbit!
Run! Run! Run!

Robert Morris
November 15, 2008 10:15 pm

I recently stumbled across this website after reading an article in the London Telegraph about temperature records from Russia caused NASA some embarrassment. I’m an electrician who works in a paper container manufacturing plant. We use great heaping amounts of steam. In the winter I can stand about 100 meters from the boiler room (outside the building) in the winter when it is below freezing and feel the heat from it on my face. In fact the snow will melt around the boiler room in a manner dictated by the wind. The melt follows the wind, usually to the South. At times the melt pattern has extended far beyond 100 meters. Cars parked in the “heat zone will be devoid of any ice on the windshields while cars either side of the area will have big thick sheets of ice on their windshields. From my personal experience I don’t doubt that the steam pipes in Russia are causing erroneous readings.

Christian Bultmann
November 15, 2008 10:18 pm

OK we know that Krasnoyarsk, Russia had the thermal power station down.
Looking up the temperature history they had a temperature jump by 20 F at 3 am in one hour, is that normal for Russian weather?
A close by town for Russian standards Tolmachevo has a similar temperature increase but spread over much longer time frame.
I find that odd maybe one of you experts want to follow this up a bit more?

Patrick Henry
November 15, 2008 10:24 pm

WUWT makes a big splash in the Telegraph.
A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.
This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China’s official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its “worst snowstorm ever”. In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.
So what explained the anomaly? GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Steve McIntyre
November 15, 2008 10:26 pm

Nice post. There’s obviously a lot of leverage on these stations. Warwick Hughes wrote about them about 7-8 years ago.
I think that the divergence between GHCN-Daily and GHCN-Monthly is a different issue though. Physical things wouldn’t cause this divergence – it has to ba an adjustment somewhere.

November 15, 2008 10:34 pm

This should get you the “Fickle Finger of Fate” award for sure! It’s like reading a plot twist in a good book, or listening to a great cliff hanger on the radio. (Taking care of course to discreetly tune the “little radio dials” while curled up indoors in front of a warm fire) 😉
This is just the sort of thing one would expect the voracious media to exploit. Here’s hoping!
Damn fine work sir!

November 15, 2008 10:44 pm

Piping: Central steam systems add a new wrinkle to UHI’s. Often, in the US, insulation is for personnel protection only and limits the exterior of the jacketing to <140°F. That’s still pretty hot. Power conservation requires thicker insulation to conserve power, and yields lower jacket temperatures.
Obviously, steam leakage would have more drastic UHI consequences, especially if the site temperature sensor is located close to and downwind of the leak.
Verkhojansk sensor location: My gut feeling is that all is well in Verkhojansk. Judging from the photo, the station is outside the town. Maybe. Note, though, that the satellite map may show the wrong location. Zooming in on the map pin reveals a roof that (to me) looks nothing like the station shown in the picture.
Also, based on the windows in the tower, it houses a stairway to the instrument platform. A good question would be: are the stairs heated? If so, unless the roof is insulated, there may be a significant heat plume across the instruments. Another question is, where exactly is the thermometer mounted?)

November 15, 2008 10:46 pm

Good investigation! Maybe extra degrees from some stations gives a bias of tenth of degrees in total. (Probably Russia isn’t known as the most quality minded country…) But RSS confirms a warm Russian october (we can’t expect the positive anomaly to be changed to a negative) :
Richard M: I don’t think so. To exclude dozens of stations on such a large area (which happens to have strong positive anomaly) should produce a larger error for the global data than a few to warm stations may produce.
But GISS data quality isn’t very good. This october error (with the September values) I think will made more ppl to put trust in satellite data instead.
But this investigation of bias is very good and nessecary!

November 15, 2008 10:48 pm

The steam or hot water supply pipes will almost certainly be insulated as they really dont want to lose that heat even in Russia. The uninsulated pipes will be the condensate or cold water return pipes which are probably not very hot but could still affect the UHI in the area when there is not much wind.

David L. Hagen
November 15, 2008 11:53 pm

Anthony – fascinating prospects.
Check for Date ON/OFF for District Heating
Somewhere I heard or read that in good centralized bureaucratic methodology, some district heating systems were officially turned on at a certain date in the fall and off in the spring – regardless of how cold or hot the weather was before that. So houses could get very cold waiting for the district heating to be turned on. Similarly, temperature control was typically by opening and closing the windows, with little regulation of the steam flow, as noted above.
Suggest exploring the temperature anomaly versus time, to see if there is a jump up/down where there were specific dates formally set to turn the district heating on/off. It may require daily temperature data to track this rather than the monthly data discussed above.
I can’t lay my hands on the source at the moment. It may have been in China, or Mongolia and not Russia. However, I would expect similar effects across states with such centralized planning and control.

David L. Hagen
November 16, 2008 12:01 am

On the question of rapid temperature changes see:
Chinooks – Warm West Winds

On Jan. 11, 1983, the temperature in Calgary rose 30°C (from –17°C to 13°C) in 4 hours, and on February 7, 1964, the temperature rose 28°C (51°F°), and the humidity dropped by 43 percent.

Are there any similar weather patterns in the Siberia?

David L. Hagen
November 16, 2008 12:05 am
November 16, 2008 12:16 am

Great work. But just a ‘grammar check’:
You mean “invite the question” not “beg the question”. The later refers to a logical error in which the answer is assumed in the question.

November 16, 2008 12:20 am

(Clearification: “…a bias of tenth of degrees in total” *in Russia* of course.)

Richard M
November 16, 2008 12:37 am

One thing that impacts temperature is snow cover (I’m from Minnesota so I’ve experienced this firsthand). As air sits over snow and ice it gets relatively cooler compared to the the same air over open land. An early fall snow in Russia would seem to lead to cooler temps. A later snow to warmer temps. It seems that percipitation patterns could significantly impact temps in Russia, especially in the spring and fall. Of course, Russia is large and shouldn’t be completely covered in snow. However, if there are only a few stations being used couldn’t the temps be biased (or would this average out over time)?
Thinking about this also made me wonder about the GCMs. Isn’t additional snow cover likely if temperatures rise (more percipitation in general). So, isn’t this a negative feedback just like the cloud albedo I’ve read about? Is this factored into the GCMs? Like I said, I’m new at this and trying to understand.

November 16, 2008 1:06 am

Wouldn’t satellite temps be affected by the same UHI effect?

Leon Brozyna
November 16, 2008 1:38 am

An excellent piece of investigative work. Makes me wonder if any of the official reporting bodies do any significant field work, even if from the confines of a desk utilizing Google. Though I suppose that such work from a bureaucratic body would be fruitless. It would not produce scientific data and would probably be categorized as anecdotal.
I was surprised to see that piece in the Telegraph that was mentioned in several comments above. I’d expected that that little whoopsie from NOAA/NASA would be conveniently ignored by the media. It was good to see credit for the work done at WUWT & CA in that piece. BTW, that piece was also picked up by Drudge.
The only fly in the ointment I can think of is that the stations that are reporting temps today would be the same ones that helped establish the baseline. So these locations would have been influenced by the same heating effects of being located on heated structures or being warmed by the radiative heat of steam pipes. It may be, however, that the baseline was established when there were more stations reporting and that the stations that have since closed were those with fewer amenities such as heat.
I was struck most by that map of Russia showing the distribution of reporting stations. I suppose that there’s an algorithm used that fills in the gap between stations to guesstimate temperatures for large underrepresented regions, so that if any single station introduces heating bias from being on a warm structure or being warmed by radiative heating from steam pipes, that heating bias would be seen to affect hundreds of square kilometers.
Another thought comes to mind when looking at those maps shown above. I can understand how the maps show how much warmer or cooler a region is from a certain baseline period, but now, in this age of computers, why limit a baseline period to just thirty years? After all, the period in use is one of convenience no doubt established when there were no computers and the data was manually crunched. So no doubt there had to be a certain limit placed on the data to keep it from becoming unwiedly yet carry some validity in establishing an average for a region.

November 16, 2008 2:02 am

This weather station site does look very bad, with a significant possibility of UHI enhancement-related heating. However, instead of all the Google Earth business, why don’t you just ask someone from the town to provide you with information? Heck, you could even get someone to measure heat differences. 1989 was a while ago, and it’s not hard to find someone to ask the questions in Russian.

Frank. Lansner
November 16, 2008 2:16 am

GISS has again adjusted october data, 10 nov: +0.88 12 nov: +0,65 and now +0,61.
As you can see on the images, now the dark red area of Sibiria has been reduced markedly again.–d12-e424-s120.php#post_8913
My question: Howcome Giss is still extrapolating very hot temperatures out in the polar ocean even now that the land stations are not so warm?
I believe they have no monitoring in the polar ocean.
Another thing. When comparing with sattelite data, GISS STILL has South america and the area south west of south America way too warm.

Jack Simmons
November 16, 2008 2:35 am

Ron (01:06:08) :

Wouldn’t satellite temps be affected by the same UHI effect?


Pierre Gosselin
November 16, 2008 3:10 am

Looks like some major media outlets are picking up on this story…further adding to the GISS embarassment. (see 3rd column)
“The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs – run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious “hockey stick” graph – GISS began hastily revising its figures.”

November 16, 2008 3:42 am

No, UHI from steam pipes warms up surface station thermometers close by, not Russia and the world as a whole.
Compare the size of these towns to the whole of Siberia. 0.0…01% 😉

steven mosher
November 16, 2008 3:53 am

central services

Willis Eschenbach
November 16, 2008 4:05 am

Whether or not the pipes are insulated is meaningless. Let me explain Barrow’s heat island to show you why.
The town of Barrow is quite small, 4,600 people in 2000. Has a nearby gas field. As part of the deal with the locals to allow the extraction of the gas, the town gets gas dirt cheap. So they burn a whacking great lot of it to heat their homes.
This home-warming heat must, of course, eventually escape into the environment. This leads to the up to six degree heat island warming observed on calm nights in Barrow.
That’s why it doesn’t matter if the steam pipes are insulated or not … the main heat loss is from the houses and factories that are heated by the steam. All of the heat piped around the town ends up warming the environment.
When I was young and broke, living on the streets in NY in December, I guarantee we’d huddle around the steam grates …
Finally, UHI is easier to create the colder it gets. If you open a house door on a warm day, it’s about the same temperature inside and out. No heat flow, no environmental heating.
Open the door at ten degrees below freezing, on the other hand, and warm air immediately comes out and warms the environment.
Conclusion? I can definitely see the central heating of the Siberian cities affecting the winter temperatures. I would expect the greatest differential on calm nights. However, calm days would also see heating.
This leads to an interesting speculation … my guess is that the greatest heat loss is during the daytime, and during the week. I would think that heating the factories and the office buildings during the week would consume more steam than just heating the residences on the weekends.
So … a study could be done to see if any sign of this weekday/weekend effect shows up in the records. Another project for a bright young graduate student.
Finally, it strikes me that there is likely more gas being burned up there, in line with the extraction of oil and gas from the region.

November 16, 2008 4:16 am

Ron. A quite large amount of the stations is in our close to cities. (Probably due to practical matters – someone needed to read the thermometers -, and also, I guess, there was no awareness of UHI when measurement started a long time ago.)
Only a very small fraction of the earth has cities, and when satellites measure the whole earth the UHI affected area is, say, less than 1/10000 of the area. This effect is of course added and that’s perfectly okay! It’s a true human effect on the earth. For GISS maybe 1/10 of the stations is close to city areas, but 1/10000 of the area is not city areas! Therefor GISS fails to describe the earth’s temperature.

November 16, 2008 4:18 am

“Maybe the heart of our Russian temperature anomaly lies in central heating.”
I think the heart of the Russian temperature (and other) lies in the climate shift around 1977. All of the winter-warming of Europe and Russia took place between 1979 and 1995. In fact these areas probably saw a larger winter cooling during 1990-2007 than 1945-1979.
Also note that the trend (not anomaly) is reversed over most of the globe 1990-2007 compared to 1979-1995. CO2 works in mysterious ways 🙂

November 16, 2008 5:29 am

The story goes that during the post-war Soviet era, Siberian towns would exaggerate the cold in winter to get more fuel allocation from Moscow. When the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago, there was no longer any incentive to falsify data and winter temperatures suddenly ‘rose’. John Daly talked about this years ago on his website; don’t know if has been really proven.

November 16, 2008 5:30 am

I’ve also posted this at CA (well, pending a spam glitch) but I wonder if it might be of interest here as well?
Here’s some food for thought. I’ve calculated NH and SH Oct SST anomaly averages for the peak years of the 1930s/40s “bump” in temperatures, from HadSST2 as follows:
NH average SST anomaly, Oct 1937-1945: +0.26C
SH average SST anomaly, Oct 1937-1945: -0.18C
Now here’s the equivalent figures for Oct 2008:
NH: +0.46C
SH: +0.17C
Hence compared with the earlier period, Oct 2008 is 0.20C warmer for the NH oceans, but 0.35C warmer for the SH oceans. In other words, the SH oceans show almost double the warming (and thus are much more significant in raising global temperatures)
There’s been a lot of discussion of the “bucket correction” issue, which presumably affected the NH more than the SH (?). In any event, the adjustments were made up to 1941, so the period of 1937-1945 I used above could be seen as a fair compromise re: the bucket issue.
I’ve just located the annual series graphs of NH and SH SST anomalies from 1850.
Straight away, I notice two things. Firstly, the drop in SST anomalies at the end of the 1940s was significantly greater in the SH than the NH (despite the relative remoteness from the main action of WW2?) [I can’t see how further bucket or aerosol theories could ever approach the much greater plausibility of the ~1946 PDO shift in explaining the drop]
Secondly, the graphs confirm that since the mid-twentieth century, the SH oceans appear to have warmed much more than the NH oceans.
Yet it is accepted wisdom that global warming thus far has been much greater in the NH, because NH land masses have warmed the most [Asia, Siberia…..groan……] whereas the oceans are slower to warm (more ocean in the SH). Eh, but the SH oceans have warmed much more?
It seems to me that a lot of analysis of the bucket issue has been aimed at explaining away the drop in SST anomalies from the mid-1940s, and hence the dip in global temperatures. But has the same energy been directed at trying to explain (away?) the surprisingly large increases in SH SST anomalies since that time? What kind of quality control was in place for measurements of SST’s south of 40S (i.e. south of the vast majority of SH habitation) in the 1940s and 1950s for example??
More accepted wisdom seems to be that the greater warming of the NH has resulted in a particularly marked long-term decline in Arctic sea ice extent, whereas lesser warming of the SH and the relative protection of Antarctica from warming by its surrounding jet streams has meant a much smaller decline in Antarctic sea ice.
But Antarctica is exposed to the SH oceans in every single direction. And if they have warmed much more than the NH oceans since the mid-20th century, then surely, surely this would have had a significant effect on sea ice extent. I can just about buy the argument that the Antarctic continental interior has been relatively sheltered from warming, this effect enhanced further perhaps by (i) its high altitude and (ii) its ultra-low humidity. But I can’t buy the argument that the surrounding seas have been nearly as sheltered, especially the seas out to ~60S where the ice extends in SH winter (significantly further from the pole than in the NH, because you have a whole continent before you get to the oceans).
Here’s the graph of recent trends in Antarctic sea ice (area) from CT that many will already be familiar with. Does anyone have the links for graphs going further back (for extent as well as area) ?
And for anyone who says ah but the Arctic is surrounded by land which has warmed more than anywhere else on the earth?
Well it may have warmed a lot in recent decades relative to circa 1980, but how did such warmth fail to have the kind of sustained record-breaking impact (relative to circa 1940) you would expect at so many of the furthest north met stations? (even if we take the figures at face value and assume that they have not seen any micro-scale (from extra nearby buildings etc) heating effects in recent decades [see Hinkel et al – thanks again Staffan for your original link to this])

November 16, 2008 5:37 am

How does ice extent north of that area of Russia compare? — John M Reynolds

November 16, 2008 5:46 am

David L. Hagen (00:01:06) :

On the question of rapid temperature changes see:
Chinooks – Warm West Winds
On Jan. 11, 1983, the temperature in Calgary rose 30°C (from –17°C to 13°C) in 4 hours, and on February 7, 1964, the temperature rose 28°C (51°F°), and the humidity dropped by 43 percent.
Are there any similar weather patterns in the Siberia?

Not for the same reason. This article describes a Chinook wind, a local
name for a wind that comes down from nearby mountains, compressing and hence
warming and drying as it goes. The Santa Ana winds in California are similar
but a bit more complex because they travel around the lower mountains of
Southern CA.
In 1974 I was on a 2700 mile bicycle trip and road a Chinook from Banff to
near Calgary and was only comfortable going up the foothills. On flats I
was riding faster than my gearing could handle. It was so hard to turn
south and I spent the rest of the day figuring out the physics about why
a crosswind means more work than no wind.
I imagine that Siberian warm and cold fronts can have remarkable temperature
changes, but that effect would be more like what Americans see in the Dakotas
to Oklahoma.

November 16, 2008 5:52 am

The stories of the last few days have been truly amazing.
First there was globally the hottest October in history reported by GISS, a 0.3 centigrade jump compared to September – not seen in the October satellite data published ahead of GISS. This was caused by Russian September data taken for October data and resulting in an enormous ‘heat wave’ over Sibiria – while along the Sibirian arctic coast, sea ice was forming at unprecedented speed.
When this blunder was fixed, the new October surface anomaly data of GISS (as well as those of HADCRUT) still show a ‘heat wave’ anomaly over Sibiria, now resulting in a 0.05 centigrade increase of October values over September, Hadcrut has 0.07, the satellite data have less than 0.01 centigrade change.
Next comes Corky Boyd, I guess he is a retired meteorologist, or you may call him amateur researcher, or ‘dilettant’ researcher, or ‘after work’ researcher, in any case a ‘non-funded’ researcher. Corky Boyd is showing convincingly, where the systematic error of GISS (as well as HADCRUT) data compared to satellite data seems to arise from: it is a specific sort of Russian UHI – in the data since long and not seen by all those professionals.
Finally there was the story, that old GISS data have been altered, all with the argument of eliminating systematic errors of the past, but all going, of course accidentally, towards an increase of global warming. (HADCRUT does not seem to have a story of this kind).
How much change these events have caused concerning the reputation of Dr. James Hansen as a scientist, he who is the principal investigator of the GISS project?
Locally of course none, I mean for the heart of the WUWT community all reputation judgments on Dr. Hansen remain more or less the same.
But gobally, there might be some change. Let’s spread the news.

George M
November 16, 2008 5:55 am

I don’t see any expansion joints. Typical exterior steam pipe installations have a U shaped offset every 100 yards or so in long runs to provide flexibility for expansion/contraction of the pipes. The expansion joints in the steam pies at the Navy Base in Rota, Spain are clearly seen in the Google satellite photos. I haven’t checked US refineries and chemical plants, but I suspect those are also visible. They certainly are from the ground.
REPLY: You can see the U-bend expansion joints in the Google Earth imagery – Anthony

Trevor Pugh
November 16, 2008 6:01 am

I know this is sort of off subject and while I still hold with the idea we should be in much colder phase that is being partially masked by AGW – but we have just had our first frost of the season in southeast Texas. This is four weeks ahead of the average date December 15th. There are probably a lot of people who didn’t cover their sub tropical plants last night. I think we are in for a cold one.

November 16, 2008 6:01 am

I can’t stop wondering that a relatively few number of stations can make the world average go much higher. There are so few stations in northern Russia that if there is a little skew in some of them, the whole average for the region goes up, and so does the rest of the world… So, the issue here is clearly that it’s hotter in those little towns (good for them!), but not in the rest of Siberia.

Steve M.
November 16, 2008 6:15 am

Who wants to merge the top anomaly graph and the station location graph? It LOOKS like the hottest areas have the fewest stations.

Steven Hill
November 16, 2008 6:30 am

Obama will soo be shutting this site down due to the new fairness doctrine. You have been warned, the truth does NOT set you free.

November 16, 2008 6:32 am

From Telegraph article, feedback:
Say what you will, but Moscow has the warmest November in 126 years, there is no snow and no sign if winter, temperatures across much of Russia are at record highs. This is a fact, not a statistical manipulation or data error. Posted by Alex, Moscow on November 16, 2008 3:27 AM

November 16, 2008 6:54 am

If the data at
there actually was a global “heat wave” in the last week or so of October. Could this rise have been centered in Siberia?

An Inquirer
November 16, 2008 7:04 am

While I am sure that micro site issues exist and that sloppy work has had an impact on the Siberian on GISTEMP, I am under the impression that satellite data from RSS and UHA also show warming in Siberia.

Denis Hopkins
November 16, 2008 7:21 am

christopher booker is an avid reader of your blog. He refers to it 2 sundays out of 3 in his column in the sunday telegraph and must be responsible for a lot of hits on your site :-0
I am one of them who came and stayed! as a result of Mr Booker

November 16, 2008 7:28 am

just a note to say, hope my last post makes it through, as i didn’t save it, and my original at CA may have been lost by its spam filter

Paul Demmert
November 16, 2008 7:29 am

Anthony check out
The world has never seen such freezing heat
By Christopher Booker in the UK Telegraph

Mike C
November 16, 2008 7:39 am

This is pretty astounding stuff. Normally I would disagree with you because I have faith in the homogeneity adjustments. But I’m flabbergasted by the fact that the GISS site shows none for the Verhojansk station. In the last 100 years this station is up about 3 degrees. It is obviously in an urban heat island but does not get an Urbanization adjustment, nothing. Just shocking.

November 16, 2008 7:51 am

No because the temperature stations are used to represent a value over a much larger area (grid cell) than the UHI actually affects. Hansen attempts to correct for this using rural stations to adjust the urban but if the rural stations are compromised then you’re SOL. Satellites use an average value measured over their grid cells so the effect is much smaller.

B Buckner
November 16, 2008 8:04 am

Don’t forget that these northermost land weather stations are used by GISS to extrapolate temperatures in the Arctic Ocean. Any errors/biases in these data are projected over a large area.

November 16, 2008 8:42 am

A phenomena often seen in cold climates in the winter are temperature inversions. A temperture inversion is a layer of cold air situated above warmer air that is trapped along the ground. The phenomena can be particularly dramatic on very cold and still days when the air is clear. If a city is large enough to have sky scrappers a person looking towards the city will see the skyscrappers poking out of a grey/brown ground fog/smog in to the overlying clear air. I have seen this phenomena on a number of occasions. In light of what I have read here I wonder how much this phenomena exacerbates the effects of UHI in the winter time.

November 16, 2008 8:52 am

Looking at all the Sunday Telegraph feedback at, there’s an awful lot of people out there who are not convinced by the AGW mantra and the Hansen/Gore scam.
I know Christopher Booker is a fan of Anthony and Steve McKintyre, but he is one of very few who gets his voice heard in the MSM.

November 16, 2008 9:19 am

If this turns out to be true that “it’s the pipes” and the temperature difference is as significant as the Pt. Barrow study indicates (~2 degrees C) and it extends back in time to when the central heating was installed by the soviets (WWII era?) and it affects the huge portion of the earth’s surface covered by Siberia and points north, then what will that do to the world global temperature record over that time? Is this as big of a deal as I’m beginning to think?

November 16, 2008 9:24 am

Perry Debell (02:01:12) :
Sunspot revelations.
Note that Brekke says:
If it is true that the sun’s activity is of great significance in determining the earth’s climate, this reduced solar activity could work in the opposite direction to climate change caused by humans”.
That is, of course, correct, but does not establish that it is so, and he makes no claim that it does.

Tom Bakewell
November 16, 2008 9:33 am

I believe Iceland uses geothermal heat delivered by pipes. A reasonable pair of question is “How do they measure temperatures?” and “What do their temp records look like?”
This is a stunning piece of work. Great Job!

November 16, 2008 9:35 am

“mrSudbury (05:37:25) :
How does ice extent north of that area of Russia compare? — John M Reynolds”
Latest research shows a running 10-year mean summer ice extent of 5.2 million km2 for the Russian Arctic in the mid 20th century, increasing to 5.6 million km2 in the early 1980s, before decreasing to 4.8 million km2 as of 2006
– see fig 2 of
It will be more like 4.5 million km2 after the last couple of summers. Personally, I would suggest this is consistent with an increase in Russian temperatures since the mid-twentieth century which is not substantially greater than any global temperature increase. (Summer that are ~0.5C warmer in the Arctic melt a lot more ice).

November 16, 2008 9:42 am

I think you are barking up the wrong tree here. There certainly is UHI effects in Siberia as elsewhere, but they would not cause one month “blips”. And the warmth in Siberia in March and October was real – you could see it in the early snow-melt and a late first snow, as well as in the satellite temperature record.
As for what caused it, my guess would be a slight increase in cloudiness. The extreme cold in Siberia is due to the very clear and dry air. Perhaps chinese pollutants could be the ultimate cause.
Ric Werme:
No Siberia has nothing like as violent weather as the Midwest. The abrupt temperature changes there (and the resulting thunderstorms and tornados) is due to the fact that it is the only place in the World where tropical and arctic air masses meet. Siberia is very effectively shielded from wet, tropical air masses by the mountains of Central Asia. Siberia just has an extremely continental climate.
Incidentally heat-pipes (usually warm water rather than steam) in Siberia are insulated, though the insulation isn’t up to western standards.

November 16, 2008 9:46 am

Before overdosing on the anti-Russian comments, remember that Russian scientists are the most skeptical of AGW while the US scientists are the least skeptical. That says a great deal imho! You might also consider that despite extreme lack of money and those oft-supposed, but never demonstrated, industrial inefficiencies, they have always produced guns, tanks, missiles and aircraft that usually easily outclass the US-made stuff at a tiny fraction of the cost. You can define efficiency as producing a lot with little money. And you can also define the epitome of inefficiency as pouring billions of dollars down an inexhaustable pit in order to save companies with chronically bad business models. Bad governance is the same whether Soviet-style or born in the USA.
As for those conspiracy theories – someone like Gavin or Atmoz etc, will happily troll through this site, sift those few comments and use them to demonstrate that the commenters at WUWT are a bunch of wingnut conspiracy theorists. Is that the desired outcome?

Harold Ambler
November 16, 2008 10:03 am

The actual heat wave in Russia does not negate the uncorrected-for UHI in Siberia (and, no doubt, elsewhere in Russia), the problematic baseline for Siberian anomalies, the disastrous lack of data oversight at GISS, or for the HUGE PROBLEM alluded to in Anthony’s original post:
Over the past 20 years, the GISS version (presumably obtained from GHCN monthly) has risen 1.7 deg C (!) relative to the average taken from GHCN Daily results.

Bill Wirtanen
November 16, 2008 10:13 am

But something curious popped out at me as well while I looking at the Google Earth image of Verhojansk. Just close to the supposed weather station – a long shadow of a power plant and even more; the colour of the basin just beside the station is very dark blue – a cooling/condense water basin of the plant perhaps?

November 16, 2008 10:15 am

I don’t get it. Followig the “skeptic rationale” surface mesaurements in populated area tend to be too high due to the most acclaimed urban heat island effect. Now, you’re trying to convince us that temperatures in remote locations are also too high due to some other fantastic effect – the pipe effect.
So what next? Is the arctic warming because of increased flatulence from bears? The sea surface temperatures are increasing because fishes are using air conditioning? Bah…
REPLY: See the MUHI study from Barrow, Alaska, quoted in earlier comments. It is remote, small, and has a measurable UHI effect. It’s character is not unlike that of many of the Russian Siberian stations. We’ll do some studies and we’ll see if the effect is “fantastic” or not. As for your other comments, stop being juvenile. – Anthony

Harold Ambler
November 16, 2008 10:18 am

Sorry, quoted remarks are by Steve McIntyre, as quoted by Anthony. The greater point, like the work done by Anthony on weather stations in the U.S., is that when you put pressure on a single data-collection location, it is astonishing what you find.

November 16, 2008 10:32 am

More Russian data:
There’s a server “Russian Weather”, which covers Russian, European and Asian stations. In Russia, there are available downloads of raw data for 1341 stations, from today back to 1997-2000. I found that sometimes these data differ from those of GHCN. There is also more stations in the “Waldo” region of Siberia, so maybe there is a possibility to check for the recent development in the area of 70-80N

Jeff C.
November 16, 2008 10:39 am

The Verhojansk, Russia photo (in the link below) is interesting, but I’m virtually certain that the building marked in the Google Earth shot is incorrect.
Note that the meteo station has a rectangular shaped tower that extends above the gabled roof by 10 to 20 feet. Due to the low sun angle at high latitudes, you should be able to see the shadow of the tower extending beyond the shadow of the building itself. It isn’t there.
Maybe this building here?'+40.65%22+N+133%C2%B0+23'+46.82%22+E&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=32.885543,56.25&ie=UTF8&ll=67.541781,133.393035&spn=0.001935,0.010943&t=h&z=17

November 16, 2008 10:58 am

Will those who are proposing radical policies based on bad advice have the ability to redirect the momentum of this concern over climate and environment into productive efforts?
Or will those who have profited so much off of selling this bad advice continue their domination of the public square?

Retired Engineer
November 16, 2008 11:07 am

There has to be some UHI effect on satellite data, perhaps very small as the heat source is a smaller part of the cell measured from space. My concern is the calibration of the satellite. They have to do it based on land data, which can have substantial errors.
When something is cheap and plentiful, there is no need to conserve. Vast amounts of heat dumped into the environment can spread over a large area. Efficiency was not a priority in Soviet Russia.

November 16, 2008 11:13 am

Hi Anthony
Not on topic but didn’t know how to contact you re: news articles. here is one with a two liner near the end I found interesting as it is in my suburb in Sydney.

Pierre Gosselin
November 16, 2008 11:21 am

The drive appears not to be to collect good data, but rather to collect just the data that will confirm the climate models. The surface data collection system overall is a hopeless mess.

November 16, 2008 11:23 am
Another partial photo of the Verchojansk station with radiosonde.

Pierre Gosselin
November 16, 2008 11:24 am

Ocean temperatures of fluctuate in cycles.
A 100 year record of these water temps would be indeed interesting.

Ed Scott
November 16, 2008 11:25 am

Better late than never, I suppose. Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has picked up on the GISS gaffe. In the mean-time, the politicians will use the cap-and-trade proceeds to bail-out everyone and everything except the productive tax-payers.
GISS’s computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.
The error was so glaring that when it was reported on the two blogs – run by the US meteorologist Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre, the Canadian computer analyst who won fame for his expert debunking of the notorious “hockey stick” graph – GISS began hastily revising its figures. This only made the confusion worse because, to compensate for the lowered temperatures in Russia, GISS claimed to have discovered a new “hotspot” in the Arctic – in a month when satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive than at the same time last year.

November 16, 2008 11:38 am

Off topic: from new scientist today.
Concealed floods drive flow of Antarctic ice

Jerry Alexander
November 16, 2008 12:04 pm

Problem with GISTEMP is their complex algorithm to convert actual temperatures. Criticism of the temperature recordings is poor geographic distribution and sampling.
Since NASA is divided into four divisions, GISS being second, James Hansen as director, NASA satellite division by far is the best temperatrure readings through weather satellites that cover the Earth totally. Hansen and GISS are bias!

November 16, 2008 12:18 pm

“John (09:19:10) :
If this turns out to be true that “it’s the pipes” and the temperature difference is as significant as the Pt. Barrow study indicates (~2 degrees C) and it extends back in time to when the central heating was installed by the soviets (WWII era?) and it affects the huge portion of the earth’s surface covered by Siberia and points north, then what will that do to the world global temperature record over that time? Is this as big of a deal as I’m beginning to think?

If it is I think Al Gore should hand over his Nobel Peace Prize to the group of folks who have gone out of their way and placed themselves in the direct line of fire to not only call into question the validity of supporting AGW arguments, but provided a forum for others to be heard as well. Anthonty W. and Steve M. come to mind.

Jerry Alexander
November 16, 2008 12:21 pm

James Hansen is bias! This comment is based on an analysis made by two mathematicians, David Henderson Ian Castle (et. Mathematical analysis of GISS temp.).
Their reseach found that temperature adjustments were made in the algorithm conversions. These adjustments were found to be in favor of higher temperatures. These adjustments were supposely made due to satellite calibrations.
Dr. Lindzen, MIT Atmospheric Studies, has stated that there is no accurate temperature readings. This is due to the failings to sufficiently controlling the conditions where temperature measurements are located and their accuracy.

Jeff C.
November 16, 2008 12:40 pm

EW (11:23:33)
Good find! I have been searching Cyrillic web pages and have not had much luck. The translation of the photo you linked says:
“Starting of radiosonde on The [verkhoyanskoy] meteorological station”
Verhoyanskoy appears to be a trasliteration variation of Verkhojansk. The Cyrillic for the town of Verkhojansk is “Верхоянске”.
It is clear this is the same building shown in
Although I’m convinced they have the wrong buiding marked on the map on the panoramio page. I have been scouring the Google Earth photo trying to find the correct buiding but nothing conclusive yet.

Olimpus Mons
November 16, 2008 12:46 pm

Off topic: I’ve been reading, trough out the last 15 years ou global warming in Mars, most obvious was the melting of Mars “Artic”. Since sun as gone weaker and quieter has anyone been tracking how mars “artic” is doing?

UK John
November 16, 2008 12:49 pm

In UK the climate is wet and cool, it seems like that all year round! So the temps in these places in Siberia are beyond my expeirience
What instruments and technology are they using to measure these low temperatures in the frozen wastes of Siberia , when it gets this low do you have to use different technology?

Jeff C.
November 16, 2008 12:50 pm

More Photos of the Verhojansk meteorlogical station here (bottom of page):
With an English translation here:;.intl=us&fr=yfp-t-501
Doesn’t look like the same building. Perhaps it moved?

Pamela Gray
November 16, 2008 12:59 pm

There was also a downward trend in ice during October near the Russian northern coast. I believe that October was a bit warmer there compared to September. However, as of November, it has trended back up.
The issue I have isn’t whether or not October was a bit warmer than expected, it’s the “if a little is good, more is better” mentality to looking at data. The human mind is prone towards substantiating itself (and the more politically entrenched you are, the more prone you are). You will see what you expect to see, and more of it, even if it’s not there, or is potentially suspect due to it being more than what you expected. If it agrees with your theory, you generally jump up and down shouting, “See? See? I was right!” instead of continuing with the null hypothesis and acting accordingly. A skepticism towards oneself should stick with one’s pet theories till the bitter end, even when it comes to one’s political theories outside of climate. It is why studies must be duplicated, again with the null hypothesis in mind, before theory takes hold. Since records began in tree rings, climate has cycled. The bulk of the entire prevailing data set thus says that climate cycles, even when circumstances now and then tries to force climate to do otherwise.
Before we can say that this is not a cycle, we need take data on the NEXT decades to the same degree that the previous decades were sampled. Otherwise, we end up jumping on bandwagons that are, as often as not, headed towards a cliff.

Patrick Henry
November 16, 2008 1:00 pm

A few days ago you were flaunting the “record October warmth” as reported by GISS. Now you are trying to make the case that Arctic cities can’t have UHI effects.
Heat flow is driven by differences in temperature, so the amount of excess heat pumped into the surroundings is much greater when the outside temperature is cold. Thus a calm day in a Siberian city would be expected to have a very large UHI effect. Dirty snow and bare pavement in cities can be itself have a major effect on temperature.
Another thing to be considered is that under Soviet rule, cities received heating oil rations based on their reported temperatures. This caused cities to compete by under-reporting the temperature, so the older database is corrupt.
GISS likes to show regions at -30C in hot red, but I’m guessing that the IPCC meets in places like Bali and Honolulu with good reason.

November 16, 2008 1:37 pm

You’re getting more famous by the day. Keep spreading the word.

Jon Jewett
November 16, 2008 2:11 pm

WUWT mentioned in the international media:
Steamboat Jack

November 16, 2008 2:11 pm

I’ll confirm that centralized heating systems for ex-Soviet cities are the standard mode. If you go to a Russian city, there are these big pipes everywhere (from 1-3 feet in diameter) snaking over the roads and up the sides of building. That’s the steam heating system from the centralized heating plant.
But, they are insulated. I’ve watched crews repairing them which have included replacing the insulation around them. No insulation is perfect — the snow melts off of them, but its not like they’re room temperature either.
As an amusing side note — in one side I was in, they wouldn’t turn on the heat until snow fell, and stayed on the ground in some amount for at least 24 hours. Then they would turn on the heat *in the city*!!. It was so cold when I was there (up near Archangel…) that I turned all the lights on in my hotel room (the only heat sources…) and went to bed clothed, until it warmed up enough I could dart out in the cold room and get ready for bed.

November 16, 2008 2:14 pm

Why bother with surface temperatures anyway ?
We have satellites, don’t we.

Chris D.
November 16, 2008 2:48 pm

Superb job, Anthony. I’ve long suspected something like this. Thing is, aren’t there supposed to be a bunch of folks who are paid to figure this sort of thing out? You’d think they’d have caught something this glaringly obvious a long time ago.

November 16, 2008 3:02 pm

Using irony has nothing to do with being juvenile. If that were true the average age in here should be 3 years old. Sarcasm is not the property of skeptics, so let’s all use it!
And yes, since we have satellite measurements, let’s forget about these surface temperatures for a while. Why is it then that RMS shows similar hot spots on top of Russia, Canada and Australia?
REPLY: No it was juvenile. RMS? What is that? – Anthony

David Ball
November 16, 2008 3:08 pm

I believe we are beginning to see the shift of belief systems. History will show the significance of this blog and others like it. I hope that those who steadfastly maintained their positions will be acknowledged. I will tell this tale to my grandchildren, not leaving out any detail as to who what where when and why. That death threats had been issued to those who “deny”, and funding cut from legitimate scientist who had every right to research money. The Suzuki Foundation in Canada is funded by some of the world’s biggest polluters, and yet Suzuki himself claims my father is in the oil companies pockets. Ridiculous. Let the shift happen, and those theories that do not stand up to verification, fall to the wayside. I, for one, have been waiting for 45 years for the truth to be revealed. Giant thank you to Anthony ( and all monitors) and those who are natural born skeptics. Never give up (questioning) the faith. Brother, can you paradigm?

November 16, 2008 3:27 pm

tty (09:42:17) : I think you are barking up the wrong tree here. There certainly is UHI effects in Siberia as elsewhere, but they would not cause one month “blips”. And the warmth in Siberia in March and October was real – you could see it in the early snow-melt and a late first snow, as well as in the satellite temperature record. As for what caused it, my guess would be a slight increase in cloudiness.
This rings bells – remember Svensmark? Compare Antarctica. When the solar wind is high, does Siberia goes really cold once the snow first falls, raising albedo; now the solar wind is low, are there more clouds and milder winters?
BTW – that tower at Verhojansky has GOT to warm the instruments on top.

November 16, 2008 3:28 pm

A couple of points.
Re: Siberia district heating. I was aware these systems existed, but discounted them as the cause of the recent warm temperature anomalies for the following reason. Under the Soviet Union energy was effectively free (and in Siberia rarely rationed). Post Soviet Union energy was no longer free (although still cheap), which would tend to result in more efficient use. Ie less wastage and less UHI.
I could be wrong, and increased population and investment in energy projects resulted in more energy consumption and hence more leakage. Stats on energy consumption in these locations would be interesting.
Re: Turning off district heating on fixed dates.
This used to be a widespread practice in Canada and for all I know still is. Heating was turned off in my downtown Toronto apartment on the same date every year. The date was the same for most apartment buildings.
Heating was included in the rent and hence ‘free’. Prior to that date, if the day was warm, I would open my balcony door to let out the excess heat.
So, you could look for a UHI effect from district heating prior to the heating turn-off date in Canadian cities.

November 16, 2008 3:50 pm

Lucy Skywalker (15:27:38) :
When the solar wind is high, does Siberia goes really cold once the snow first falls, raising albedo; now the solar wind is low, are there more clouds and milder winters?
The solar wind goes through a cycle like the sunspots and is high every 11 years and low every eleven years, and show no detectable long-term trend.

Jeff C.
November 16, 2008 3:51 pm

Two more photos of the Verkhoyansk meteo station from an Italian adventure tourist. He states it was -58 deg C at the time of the photo and his camera shutter froze.

Robert Wood
November 16, 2008 3:58 pm

Corky Boyd,
I think you have found Waldo.
BTW Here in Ottawa, Canada, we regularly go through 60C temperature variations. You get used to it.

Graeme Rodaughan
November 16, 2008 4:14 pm

@ Jack Simmons (19:18:37) :
Innoculations can be painful – hopefully the “green” immunisation program takes affect before too much damage is done.

November 16, 2008 4:17 pm

Well spotted. Time for an Audit of GISS!

November 16, 2008 4:19 pm

Not specificly related but it looks like the sea ice has returned to Barrow.
Point Barrow webcam.
Rise and shine campers, it’s cold out there!

Robert Wood
November 16, 2008 4:28 pm

Ron de Haan (15:58:52)
I would be willing to support a global independant network. It would take a lot of money, providing, say, 2-5 thousand stations planet wide. Thing is, though, 70% of the planet is deep, deep, ocean. And all this water has a far greater effect upon “global temperature” than the non-ocean bits.
So, although I am willing to put up my money, it is not a worthwhile project. Satellites are the way to go. I am willing to put up some money for the WUWT planetary monitoring satellite system.
Now, the cost:
Development and construction of engineering prototype: $50 million
These must be polar orbit, so let’s say construction of 6 satellites: $450 million
Launch of the 6 satellites into orbit: $250 million.
OK We need $750 million.
Now, I am willing to put up $1000 for such a project. We need 750,000 doners of $1000. Or 7.5 million doners of $100 – much more likely.
I am willing to discuss this project seriously with people to, first, determine cost; second, feasability. I have experience in this domain.
Initial question: What temperature do we measure? Surface or near-surface atmospheric?

Graeme Rodaughan
November 16, 2008 4:29 pm

@ Pierre Gosselin (03:10:22) :
Hmmm… “Scandal” sells advertising space aswell as “Catastrophy”. And with all the financial bad news grabbing media space – scandal provides a useful contrast to solicit interest.
There is always the problem that too much “catastrophy” run for too long can become boring, and can cause people to switch off.

November 16, 2008 4:31 pm

Jeff, the title of the photo under the pic of the memorial plaque says “Participants of the forum together with the collective of Verkhoyansk meteo-station” (collective – read as co-workers). This does not necessarily say that the people were photographed before the actual station. There was some festivity concerning the cold pole temperature anniversary and the meteo crew might have been participating.

Jeff C.
November 16, 2008 4:37 pm

Ok, last one. Here is a view of the Verkhoyansk meteo station that includes a beautiful shot of all the instrumentation. Loos like it is in a fenced-off area behind the building and includes something that looks like a Stevenson screen in the back.

David Ball
November 16, 2008 4:43 pm

Olimpus (Olympus?) raises a question that I would like answered as well. What are the other planets doing temperature wise? Anyone? Leif?

Graeme Rodaughan
November 16, 2008 4:55 pm

Definently OT.
But you might be interested to read that “Exhausted Polar Bears” and the “Melting Artic” is still getting plenty of air time in the MSM.,25197,24659919-11949,00.html

Jeff C.
November 16, 2008 5:00 pm

EW – thanks, you are correct, it hasn’t moved. See my comment at 16:37:05 with a link to a current photo of the station and the instruments. The instruments are in a fenced area behind the building maybe 50 feet away (hard to judge distance from the view).
It looks much better than most of the stations in!
Still can’t find the building on Google Earth, like looking for a needle in a haystack.

November 16, 2008 5:01 pm

I once saw an impressive satellite photo of Siberia, taken in April I think, where you could pick out the towns and cities easily because the snow had all melted or been cleared there. The rest of the landscape was white. The relative darkness of the towns suggests an albedo effect (where temperatures are measured) as well.

November 16, 2008 5:05 pm

Thanks for the photo Jeff C
I notice the caption “The Meteorological Station at Verkhoyansk where the record low temp.of – 67.8 C was recorded in 1885.Siberia”
I wonder if we could get down another 20C before the end of this winter? 🙂 [coldest currently -46C] [the station that’s currently -46C]

November 16, 2008 5:05 pm

Steve M. (06:15:46) : Who wants to merge the top anomaly graph and the station location graph? It LOOKS like the hottest areas have the fewest stations.
Done – presuming Russia was in Mercator projection or near enough.
It’s the Arctic Ocean projected from Russia that most obviously don’t fit.

November 16, 2008 5:14 pm

Maybe not at that station……turns out it’s one of the “warming” ones 🙁
And -46C is hardly cold for the station: note for example that it has only once ever had a winter with a MEAN less cold than -40C! (1981. Maybe a pipe burst!)

November 16, 2008 5:23 pm

Leif – looks like I need to check out the Sun’s patterns more carefully. I thought that recently (Usoskin etc) the Sun had showed a high level of activity not seen for a long time – and that this applied to both TSI and magnetic flux – and while of course the 11-year cycle applies, it was altogether a bit higher at max…

Steven Hill
November 16, 2008 5:25 pm

The Russians need to cool those collection sites…they want to sell oil, what are they thinking? LOL

Jeff Alberts
November 16, 2008 6:00 pm

Though there are obviously many different theories out there as to what could be causing these anomalies, the most important (and suspicious) thing to me is that NH warm anomalies have been so consistent and extreme 1) in one particular area – eastern Russia (sparsely populated), and 2) the warm anomalies have been much greater in winter. This is indicative of something besides simple AGW…

I’d say “other than” instead of “besides” AGW.

Richard Evans
November 16, 2008 6:55 pm

Jeff C. (12:50:32) “Doesn’t look like the same building. Perhaps it moved?”
There is a picture of the Google Earth image among a collection of wall-mounted photos in image no. 2785 higher in the series.
REPLY: I noted that also, and what I can’t determine at the moment is if the original building is still in use or not. It appears in some state of disrepair in all photos, so perhaps they have moved to this new buolding? More reseacrh is needed. – Anthony

Patrick Henry
November 16, 2008 7:01 pm

Here is how the Hansen “hottest October on record” looked in Alaska.
The high temperature reached normal on only three days, and there were four days where the high temperature didn’t even reach the normal minimum. Average temperatures were about 10 degrees below normal.

November 16, 2008 7:03 pm

Even it it’s insulated, the outside temperature is so low that there may be an effect anyway.
It also seems to me that the question (as always) goes down to the delta:
Is the trend any greater over the years?
I have to say I find myself questioning the reality of the wonderful days of Free Siberian Central heating under Stalin & Co. Many of the dudes who resided in Siberia who weren’t in the gulag were in internal exile and not exactly flavor of the month in Moscow. And I don’t see the communists being too loose on the coal allowance.
So would this UHI effect (if/how much it exists) have grown, shrunk, or broken even over time?
So even though power costs money now I can’t see it being any colder up there indoors than in the past.
There’s also that story floating around about how Siberia under communism got coal based on how cold they reported the temperatures. If that is even partly true, one can’t help supposing that this might have had an effect on the reporting. Remember, we are talking about s system that lied about the most basic demographics and statistics such as population and harvest. One has to wonder about their surface stations and what motives might have been involved.

November 16, 2008 7:36 pm

Russians have always been a bit backward and perhaps uncultured, what?
Anyway. Why do Australians care about Polar Bears? It’s not as if Ozzies spend much time in Antarctica Polar Bear watching, eh? In Canada, we don’t spend a lot of time watching our penguins either.

November 16, 2008 7:37 pm

Remember, Alarmist true believers insensibly twist facts to fit the theories, instead of twisting theories to fit facts.

Harold Ambler
November 16, 2008 7:59 pm

Leif Svalgaard (15:50:55) :
The solar wind goes through a cycle like the sunspots and is high every 11 years and low every eleven years, and show no detectable long-term trend.
Maunder Minimum.

Richard Sharpe
November 16, 2008 8:28 pm

Finnegan says:

Anyway. Why do Australians care about Polar Bears? It’s not as if Ozzies spend much time in Antarctica Polar Bear watching, eh? In Canada, we don’t spend a lot of time watching our penguins either.

Unfortunately the Bundy Bear would not agree.

November 16, 2008 9:26 pm

Lucy Skywalker (17:23:53) :
(Usoskin etc) the Sun had showed a high level of activity not seen for a long time – and that this applied to both TSI and magnetic flux
Usoskin et al. are fighting a rearguard action to keep the long-term trends in the picture. The general feeling is that there are no long-term term trends. E.g. for the magnetic flux:
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L20108, doi:10.1029/2008GL035813, 2008
Conservation of open solar magnetic flux and the floor in the heliospheric magnetic field
M. J. Owens et al.
The near-Earth heliospheric magnetic field intensity, |B|, exhibits a strong solar cycle variation, but returns to the same “floor” value each solar minimum. […] In this study we assume heliospheric flux consists of a constant open flux component and a time-varying contribution from CMEs. In this scenario, the true floor is |B| with zero CME contribution. Using observed CME rates over the solar cycle, we estimate the “no-CME” |B| floor at ∼4.0 ± 0.3 nT, lower than previous floor estimates and below |B| observed this solar minimum. We speculate that the drop in |B| observed this minimum may be due to a persistently lower CME rate than the previous minimum, though there are large uncertainties in the supporting observational data.
Received 26 August 2008; accepted 29 September 2008; published 30 October 2008.
Our previous estimate was 4.6 ± 0.5 nT, so they basically agree with us (4.0 ± 0.3 nT is not statistically different from 4.6 ± 0.5 nT).
Harold Ambler (19:59:27) :
“shows no detectable long-term trend.”
Maunder Minimum

Right now, the Heliospheric Magnetic Field is very likely what it also was during the MM. [c.f. above cite].
So you can cross off the MM, unless you are an AGW client and need the Sun to be cooler then to explain the LIA, in which case you are a lost cause 🙂

November 16, 2008 9:31 pm

FWIW, I spoke to a friend of mine from Siberia today and she said a couple of things:
1. In general a lot of the piping was deep underground, so that it would be below the depth that the soil freezes.
2. However, when the pipes come above ground it is fairly warm near them ( the snow melts around them and you can feel it). In fact, she said that in Siberia they would run water at much higher temperatures than in warmer parts of the old Soviet Union, so you would expect a stronger warming for stations in Siberia if they are near those pipes.

Bruce Foutch
November 16, 2008 11:12 pm

RE: Jeff C.
Great photo find!
I looked at your linked photo and do not see any path through the snow to the Stevenson’s Screen, although other paths to other instruments are visible.
Anthony, Any thoughts on this?
REPLY: It looks like the station is automated, note the wire to the screen. Also note the quad yagi antenna on the building rooftop, which is used for satellite communications. Since we can get hourly data from the station on weather underground, it is a safe bet that we have automation there.
Note also the plume to the left…somethings warm, steam, hot water, fireplace. Also with the sat antenna on the roof, it is a safe bet that this station is heated to keep the equipment from dying in subzero weather. so based on the sat image here:,133.394&sll=67.541708,133.393979&sspn=0.011246,0.039568&g=67.5418,133.394&ie=UTF8&ll=67.541806,133.393979&spn=0.011246,0.039568&t=h&z=15&iwloc=addr
and the photo, I’m going to assign this station a preliminary CRN3 rating. It may possibly rate a 4 (heated building within 10 meters) but I need more data and photography to be sure.

Chuck Bradley
November 16, 2008 11:42 pm

Just another data point for fast temperature change, from early 1962, at Fort Carson, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. I observed a change from -9 F to +38 F in 90 minutes.

Willis Eschenbach
November 17, 2008 12:11 am

Y’know, my research is gradually convincing me that the overwhelming majority of the Siberian cities were heated with hot water and not hot steam. I don’t find anything describing steam pipes around Siberian cities in general, and there would be many reasons to argue against them (cost and danger, for starters).
Everything I’m reading says there is hot water provided, usually from waste heat in the power plants, which is circulated in the pipes under discussion in Siberia. This hot water is used in radiators for room heat, and also provides hot water for the sink and bath.
My SWAG* is that there are more BTUs burned in Siberia today than in 1980, and more in 1980 than in 1940.
Best to all,
*Scientific Wild Assed Guess”

November 17, 2008 12:39 am

Meant RSS, sorry. I’m used to using RMS for root mean quare, so my fingers went the usual way I guess. One of my problems with this “explanation” is: since the collapse of the communist government, city-wide centralized heat systems tend to disappear in favour of the type of systems we have here. This is also correct for most of the Eastern Europe, including Berlin itself where the heating system is still in place but not used anymore. And why would this hold for remote russian stations and not for remote polish, romanian, ukrainian, and so on stations?

Neil Crafter
November 17, 2008 1:10 am

I think the Bundy Bear might be a little lost on Mr/Mrs Finnegan as I don’t think he/she is Australian somehow, referring to us as “Ozzies”. It’s “Aussies”, Finnegan, using the first three letters of our country’s name. Appears Canada has the good fortune to claim Finnegan as one of its own.

November 17, 2008 2:05 am

Leif, thanks, prompt as ever, appreciated. However, I’m not convinced with your dismissal of Usoskin but it will have to wait!

Willis Eschenbach
November 17, 2008 2:13 am

A further data point show steam is widely used. Live and learn.

The same is not always the case in Russia. Just as electricity is generated from a central facility in each town or city, so is hot water. Year around, hot water is delivered to tens of millions of Russians via an elaborate, aging system of pipes. During winter, steam heat is delivered via a parallel system that supplies the radiators, which in turn heat apartments and offices.

In mid-September, near my offices in Moscow, a steam pipe ruptured just below the surface where the pipe came out of the ground. Obviously, it was never properly repaired during the August shutdown. The line came vertically out of the ground, made a 90 degree bend over the street before disappearing into a wall leading to my office. The break resulted in steam spewing from the pipe at an alarming rate. For the following six months, until the steam heat was finally shut off in late April, scalding steam erupted from the pipe at a rate that kept pedestrians on the opposite side of the street.
The leak was not without its benefits. One day late in September, my driver, Ilya, called me very early. I was having my coffee and toast and thinking about the days’ duties.
“Randall, my son has a high fever. I need to take him to the doctor. Can you get to work on your own, please, so that I can use the company car to take him to the doctor?” Since he kept my car in a lot near his aparhnent 15 miles in the opposite direction from our offices, it was a given that I would be on foot.
An hour later, I stepped out of our apartment building into an early fall snow shower for the three-mile walk to the office. I momentarily paused at the bus stop, but saw that all of the busses were packed to capacity. It simply was not worth the hassle of riding in a can of sardines for the 20-block trip. Off I trudged, across the boulevard by my aparhnent, down a smaller street and across the long bridge over the Moscow River, past several more bus stops, a couple of cafes and a tire factory. As I rounded the corner onto Letnikovskaya Street leading to my office, I carefully crossed the street to avoid the steam that I knew was erupting from the cracked steam pipe ahead. Where the steam was escaping from the pipe in an upward billowing cloud, the ice and snow had thawed for a few feet in all directions exposing the bare dirt. Several dozen sparrows had made themselves nests in the warm dirt, which was heated from below, and were warming themselves courtesy of the leak. It was a Kodak moment. I hurried to my building and the warmth of my office.
That night, when I struggled home and through the front door, I was welcomed by my wife’s hug and the smell of her cooking. I noticed that our apartment seemed very humid as I took off my winter garments. I put on my house slippers and peeked into the kitchen. On the four- burner stove was a simmering pot of soup along with three large galvanized buckets of boiling water.
“Randy, the hot water went off this afternoon for the final repairs. I’ve boiled you some water for your bath. It’s not much but better than nothing.”
We lived in a region of Moscow that drew heat from a different generating plant than the area by my office. My office was in an industrial area made up mostly of warehouses and factories. There were few apartment dwellers to be concerned with so the energy bosses didn’t care about the wasted heat on Letnikovskaya Street.
A few minutes later, I was sitting in our bath rub in about four inches of boiling water and thinking what a miserable place Russia was with its hot water shutdowns. And then I thought of the little birds near my office trying to stay warm in the dirt.
Life was not so bad, as long as you were not a bird, I concluded.


November 17, 2008 4:35 am

If it was last spring you were in Archangelsk, the cold indoors was not because they had turned the heat off, it was the central heating plant that had broken down. Everybody was complaining about the cold.

John Lederer
November 17, 2008 6:15 am

Bet that cable to the screen is not for automated instrumentation but for a light. Most of the winter is dark there and flashlights work poorly at very cold temperatures. Presumably they only turn it on for readings?

Harold Ambler
November 17, 2008 6:34 am

Dr. Svalgaard writes: “Right now, the Heliospheric Magnetic Field is very likely what it also was during the MM. [c.f. above cite].
So you can cross off the MM, unless you are an AGW client and need the Sun to be cooler then to explain the LIA, in which case you are a lost cause :-)”
Well, the faintly ad hominem response lets me know I’m getting somewhere.
Dr. Svalgaard: You have written many posts on this site suggesting that the LIA is not related to the Maunder Minimum or any other solar minimum during the period 1300-1850. You have even gone so far as to suggest that Dr. Jack Eddy, who named the Maunder Minimum, now regrets associating the Sun with climate trends. According to a conversation I had with him last week, he does not. He is, on the other hand, fighting stage four cancer, and I hope all who admire him and are so inclined will keep him in their prayers.
Here is Dr. Eddy’s best published quote on the unconstant nature of the Sun: “In time I realized that there was a more profound and philosophical message in the Maunder Minimum: that people want the Sun to be more constant and regular than perhaps it is.”
I understand, Dr. Svalgaard, that I won’t convince you of the scientific insight that led Dr. Eddy to study the Little Ice Age and name its most significant solar minimum. I do think it is important, however, for other readers of this site to get to make up their own minds about this.
As I have pointed out before, Dr. Henrik Svensmark’s penetrating analysis of cloud formation with respect to galactic cosmic rays is without equal when paired with the geologic record of past ice ages, including the Little Ice Age. Anyone contemplating Dr. Eddy’s work and Dr. Svensmark’s work, together with the best studies done by cutting-edge solar physicists of the moment (certainly including yourself, as well as Livingston and Penn), would be well-advised to consider the next half century likely to be a time of cooling.
I respect the fact that you adhere with such passion to Anthropogenic Global Warming climate modeling. In particular, I respect the fact that you clearly feel that you are serving humanity by dissuading readers at this site of a solar-climate connection that could raise doubts about the power of C02 to drive climate, given your position that there is limited time available to change the equation here on Earth.
While we can agree to disagree for the moment — hopefully respectfully — about the Sun-Earth climate connection, I think it should become clear as we wind our way through a relatively quiet Solar Cycle 24 and work our way into an even quieter Solar Cycle 25 that not even the negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation will be able to explain the significant drop in temperatures around the globe.
I would like you to know, in case it matters to you, that I am a lifelong environmentalist. I believe in a powerful EPA, with its teeth left in, to protect American water, air, and land. I believe in limiting particulate pollution whenever possible.
I don’t believe in a Cap and Trade system that freezes severe economic injustices in place (First World continues to live it up while Third World remains in the Stone Age) that also happens to spend money on a non-problem, i.e. warming, when a real problem, i.e. agricultural and energy challenges posed by the coming cooling and rising population in this country and elsewhere.

Harold Ambler
November 17, 2008 6:42 am

Last paragraph of my last post should read:
I don’t believe in a Cap and Trade system that freezes severe economic injustices in place (First World continues to live it up while Third World remains in the Stone Age) that also happens to spend money on a non-problem, i.e. warming, when a real problem, i.e. agricultural and energy challenges posed by the coming cooling and rising population, requires true leadership and vision on the part of all concerned.

Wondering Aloud
November 17, 2008 6:55 am

District heating is the way it is done in Russia especially in Siberia. People don’t have their own furnace, the heat is centrally controlled and turned on or off at a central location, and yes the pipes generally run above ground and probably lose far more heat than they deliver. I have no idea how big the effect would be in terms of UHI and of course most would hope it was a big effect especially the people who live there.

Chris D.
November 17, 2008 6:59 am

Anthony, this is the contact info from the host site in case you wanted to try to get a higher res version of the Verhojansk image. I thought that Stevenson Screen was very interesting. It has some sort of device/motor/cannister mounted under it with a cable or hose coming into it.
Bryan and Cherry Alexander Photography
Higher Cottage
Sturminster Newton
Dorset DT10 1EZ
Telephone: +44 (0) 1258 473006
Fax: +44 (0) 1258 473333
Email: alexander(at)

B Kerr
November 17, 2008 7:13 am

Great Work!
Well done.
Your article reminded me of a story about district heating that appeared in Anna Politkovskaya’s book Putin’s Russia. Page 145
A very sad story about an 80 year old man who was found dead in his flat frozen solid to the floor boards. The district heating didn’t work but that was not unusual. The death of a war veteran was not news worthy; neither were the deaths of thousands of others who died in similar circumstances in the winter of 2002/3. The story goes on to explain that district heating did not work and it was considered a bit of a joke. Maybe more of a joke in Moscow than in Siberia.
Guess the Russian have got around to fixing the district heating systems.
Think it might explain why average Siberian temperatures were still low over the past years and only now the affects of district heating are been seen and judged to be Global Warming.
I’ve also been using Google Earth to try and locate the Verkhojansk met station. I’m not convinced that the posted Panoramio location is correct.
I can see two buildings, but they have the wrong shape, one does have an aeriel.
The buildings at the position given in the article look odd, yet it could just be a question of scale. I really do not know the size of the buildings. I could always get the slide rule out and do a few calculations. Yes there are shadows cast by large “aeriels” or something.
To the north of Verkhojansk there is a site which has one building in a large rectangular “field”. The building casts quite a shadow. This building has a number of smaller – white coloured – constructions on the site. Stevenson Screen? Across the road there is a larger “newish” building.
Again great stuff.
I’m looking forward to see the BBC news tonight, I’m sure that they will tell the world that global temperatures are not increasing and it has all been one big mistake.
Dream on!

John McDonald
November 17, 2008 7:40 am

You made the drudgereport and uk telegraph … Congratulations. Your hardwork is getting noticed big time.

M White
November 17, 2008 7:51 am

Check out the temperatures in Norilsk does it realy get this warm in the Russian Arctic during November?
Real Weather in Norilsk. Weather station Davis Vantage Pro2
Time on the Station Outside Temperature High monthly Outside Temperature Low monthly Outside Temperature
9:44 23.2 °C 23.8 °C -2.2 °C
Wind Direction Wind Speed High Wind Speed Wind Chill
NNE 0.0 m/s 3.1 m/s 23.2 °C
Barometer 3-Hour Barometer Trend Outside Humidity Current Moon Phase
751.1 mm Rising Slowly 44 % First Quarter
Current Weather Forecast
Mostly cloudy and cooler. Precipitation possible within 12 hours, possibly heavy at times. Windy.
The weather information updates every 20 minutes

William Wagner
November 17, 2008 9:04 am

Why is the outdated and extremely low temperature period from 1961 to 1990 still used as the climate average. The technology is out there to use a 100 year climate average which we now know is much more accurate a measure of climate rather than the 30 year model which was developed in the early 1950’s.
This would include the 1930 – 1950 period which was as warm as the last 15 years and level out a lot of high and low peaks that are actually minor anomolies.

November 17, 2008 9:20 am

What is interesting to me is that the weather station seems to be very close to the power plant!
I think you are correct in you identification of the heating pipes. They are also common in some US cities (such as New York) and some industrial and academic campuses. I am less certain about your ID of the weather station, but it seems logical that it would be placed near the power plant, and the power plant is easy to ID by the source of the largest pipes. So even without these assumptions, one has to be very concerned that the weather stations in an area with centralized heat plants are useless.
There also seems to be a pond of some type next to the station which I would investigate since it may be a cooling pond for the power generation portion of the plant.

November 17, 2008 10:22 am

here is a google maps link to a similar town (Batagay) with snow cover.,133.39999390&ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=67.649699,134.682941&spn=0.002815,0.00957&z=17
From this picture the pipes do not appear to be throwing off a lot of heat (as I would expect since they they would simply have to be insulated) but we don’t even know if the central heat is operating when this photo was taken.
We can also see that the area near and to the west of the power plant does not have snow cover. This may be due to the river (canal?) or UHI or maybe even just topography.
I would guess that there is another weather station near the power plant, but it is impossible to see in this photo due to poor contrast.
Just to the East is the main city which clearly shows UHI but without the snow the contrast is terrible and you can’t see much else.
Here is another photo of a Russian city (Khayysardakh) clearly showing UHI, but I can not see a power plant, and did not check for weather station.
This could be good timewaster — (1) look for Russian city with high resolution image available (2) identify power plant by location of (a) runoff pond, (b) smoke stacks, or (c) origin of steam pipes. (3) Near power plant search for weather station. (4) Check if weather station is on NCDC database.

November 17, 2008 10:27 am
November 17, 2008 10:59 am

Lucy Skywalker (02:05:13) :
I’m not convinced with your dismissal of Usoskin but it will have to wait!
I guess we are all waiting…
Harold Ambler (06:34:24) :
“unless you are an AGW client and need the Sun to be cooler then to explain the LIA, in which case you are a lost cause :-)”
Well, the faintly ad hominem response lets me know I’m getting somewhere.

Clearly there was no ad-hom intent here. I was just pointing out that there is no escape from the comfort of this circular argument, if one goes there.
You have even gone so far as to suggest that Jack Eddy, who named the Maunder Minimum, now regrets associating the Sun with climate trends
This is a misrepresentation of what I said [or intended to say]. What Jack pointed out in his dinner talk at the SORCE 2003 meeting was that the energy argument is no longer valid, not that he didn’t believe in other more subtle influences.
“that people want the Sun to be more constant and regular than perhaps it is.”
And this was his argument against people who dismissed the Maunder Minimum, which nobody does today. The sunspot number was without a doubt a lot smaller then. Our modern observations show however that that does not imply that TSI or the Sun’s open magnetic flux was any smaller then than now at solar minimum.
I won’t convince you of the scientific insight that led Dr. Eddy to study the Little Ice Age and name its most significant solar minimum.
We all knew in the 1970s what Jack was talking about, and you have, perhaps, the order wrong: Jack did not study the LIA first and then looked for a cause. He resurrected Maunder’s [actually Spoerer’s] suggestion of a pronounced minimum and linked it to the LIA because it was thought [based on Abbot’s – as we know today: faulty – measurements] that there was a significant variation of TSI over the solar cycle. No controversy [and convincing needed] on that point, given the premises.
would be well-advised to consider the next half century likely to be a time of cooling.
This may very well happen as the climate is constantly changing, and you will get no disagreement from me there, unless you wish to ascribe that change to only once facet of all possible causes.
I respect the fact that you adhere with such passion to Anthropogenic Global Warming climate modeling.
Except that I don’t [and have made that abundantly clear]
serving humanity by dissuading readers at this site of a solar-climate connection
The readers make up their own mind. The service to ‘humanity’ comes about by alerting the readership to ongoing, new solar research and results.
clear as we wind our way through a relatively quiet Solar Cycle 24 and work our way into an even quieter Solar Cycle 25 that not even the negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation will be able to explain the significant drop in temperatures around the globe.
First, we don’t know what solar cycle 25 will be, and second, the future ‘significant drop’ has not [yet] been observed and therefore needs no explanation so far.
real problem […] coming cooling
Alarmist thinking either way is always a danger. And since there is not much we can do about changing the climate, IMHO, the effort [if any] should be spend on improving the human condition, but in general I think that one’s attitude on this should have no bearing on the science [many people might disagree with this, but so be it].
In all the heat about motivations and attitudes, the science seems to have been forgotten. What we are [ever so slowly] learning is that TSI may not have varied as much as thought, that the magnetic field at solar minima very likely has not changed over historic time. My colleague, Ed Cliver, was just last Friday at GISS giving a seminar on the ‘constant’ Sun and was met with a fair amount of resistance from the AGW modelers who do not like to hear that the Sun was not the cause of the temperature increase in the first half of the 20th century, because that opens the door to admitting of other natural causes, and with too many other causes floating around it becomes hard to say that the increase in the last half of the 20th century is not due to these other [natural] causes.
The issue, for me, is that there are dogma on both sides of the debate. The situation reminds me of the discussion half a century ago of whether the craters on the Moon were volcanic or impact scars. The geologists, who knew a lot about volcanoes but nothing about impacts, held that the craters were not volcanic [thus impacts], and the astronomers, who knew about impacts but nothing about volcanoes, held that the craters were not impact scars [thus volcanoes]. If you cannot explain a phenomenon by staying within the bounds of what you know, you ascribe it to forces from another domain of which you know less or nothing at all.
I have repeatedly given the rationale for my assessment of the state of the Sun and shall here only give a link to the exhausting discussion [~4000 posts] starting here:

November 17, 2008 12:20 pm

Harold Ambler (06:34:24) :
studies done by cutting-edge solar physicists of the moment (certainly including yourself, as well as Livingston and Penn), would be well-advised to consider the next half century likely to be a time of cooling.
It is too early to pass judgment on L&P’s ongoing work, but should they turn out to be correct, there is a good chance that a spotless Sun might actually have a higher TSI, if the ‘spotless’ness is due to the spots being invisible rather than gone. The speculation goes like this: Observations show that areas of the Sun with a magnetic field above 1500 Gauss are dark, while areas with a magnetic field below 1500 Gauss are bright. The TSI we measure is [roughly] the sum of two competing effects: (1) the darkening due to fields larger than 1500 G, and (2) the brightening due to fields smaller than 1500 G; the latter effect being about twice the former and thus leaving us with a net brightening. Assume that L&P are correct, then the Maunder Minimum could be explained by most spots being below the 1500 G limit [and thus invisible, as might happen again in 2015 if the trend continues], but the magnetic field would still be there and the modulation of cosmic rays would therefore still take place [just as is, in fact, observed]. TSI would then have been higher than now. And if we return to such a condition in the coming decades, TSI might also become higher. If TSI is important for the Sun-climate connection, we would then expect warming during the MM and during the coming Eddy Minimum [as it rightfully should be called, honoring Jack’s contribution]. So, perhaps TSI is not important at all, just as Jack concluded in 2003.
The cosmic ray proxy of solar activity is fraught with unresolved problems. In a paper just out: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L21812, doi:10.1029/2008GL035189, 2008, Aldahan et al. write [abstract]:
“Reconstructing solar activity variability beyond the time scale of actual measurements provides invaluable data for modeling of past and future climate change. The 10Be isotope has been a primary proxy archive of past solar activity and cosmic ray intensity, particularly for the last millennium. There is, however, a lack of direct high-resolution atmospheric time series on 10Be that enable estimating atmospheric modulation on the production signal. Here we report quasi-weekly data on 10Be and 7Be isotopes covering the periods 1983–2000 and 1975–2006 respectively, that show, for the first time, coherent variations reflecting both atmospheric and production effects. Our data indicate intrusion of stratosphere/upper troposphere air masses that can modulate the isotopes production signal, and may induce relative peaks in the natural 10Be archives (i.e., ice and sediment). The atmospheric impact on the Be-isotopes can disturb the production signals and consequently the estimate of past solar activity magnitude.”
“Accordingly, with the results obtained here, stratospheric/upper tropospheric intrusions can be a major source of noise in ice core
10Be-data. Additionally, the relatively higher altitudes in Greenland may intensify the atmospheric effect on the 10Be production signals, through enhanced interaction between the stratosphere polar vortex and troposphere [Baldwin and Dunkerton, 2001]. These effects, which alter the production signal, should be quantified or eliminated before accurate estimates of past solar irradiance variations can be made.”
“Although not constant, the average difference in past solar total irradiance between low and high activity in the 11-year cycle is about 0.1% based on 10Be data, which can be translated to an average global forcing difference of about 0.25 Wm2 [Fro¨hlich, 2006; Beer et al., 2006]. Solar variability modification on beryllium isotopes production is expected to be stronger at high latitudes (>50N), where the production rate is high [Masarik and Beer, 1999] and atmospheric mixing less effective The intrusions we have observed add a further 10–20% variation to reconstructions
of past solar irradiance. The direct effect on past global surface temperature by minor irradiation variations may be insignificant, but amplifications by albedo effects on insolation due to changes in ice and cloud cover and stratospheric ozone are still not well-quantified parameters. We did find some indications of a connection between intrusion frequency and surface air temperature at the studied latitudes. Intrusion-free periods apparently show elevated average temperatures compared to periods with frequent intrusions (Figures 4 and S1). This discernable signal may offer further opportunities to model minute effects of stratospheric/tropospheric air intrusions on surface air temperature.”
So, there is a good chance that 10Be to a significant degree also measures climate rather than just solar activity and that simplistic interpretations of the 10Be data in terms of purely solar effects are in doubt. This just goes to show that a serious rethinking of some of the ‘standard facts’ in the field is in order and that is where I think I can play a role and provide a service to the readership as we progress along this rocky course.

November 17, 2008 12:36 pm

On Oct 31 you wrote:
Meanwhile, back at Oulu, the neutron count is still climbing
No, it is falling:
and at Moscow it has been falling for a while, too: ,
so we may be past minimum. It is a cruel world.
I’m not sure any real trend is evident yet, but since you wrote that, the neutron count at Oulu has indeed been climbing:
Since this is in spite of the gradual emergence of SC24 sunspots, which do seem to imply that we may be past minimum, could it be taken as a sign of general weakness in SC24?

Harold Ambler
November 17, 2008 12:49 pm

I haven’t ascribed all the incipient cooling to a single cause. I mentioned the solar minimum, in which, yes, TSI does decline a bit. I mentioned the negative PDO. I mentioned Svensmark. I mentioned Livingston and Penn’s research showing the (presumably temporary) cessation of visible sunspots in 2015, work you’ve cited here and elsewhere repeatedly.
You’ve suggested in past posts that the Little Ice Age may have been caused by “internal variability” within Earth’s climate. Could you explain how that works exactly?
Until and unless you do, I will stay with the zany notion that the Sun had something to do with it.

Harold Ambler
November 17, 2008 1:02 pm

I remember at similar points in this argument in the past asking whether you had found the time to read “The Chilling Stars,” written by your fellow Dane Dr. Henrik Svensmark. Your explanation that you had read all the papers that constituted its thesis does not suffice. The arguments laid out, the historical record presented, and Svensmark’s theory itself are all too elaborate, and too elegant, to be known by proxy. I would suggest a direct scientific experiment in which the book is read.

November 17, 2008 2:44 pm

The Oct temp mess up made the ticker at Fox news. 🙂 Though small, its a start. Thats what we need, more national coverage explaining that temp variation will not cause the world to end. Dr H’s name is specifically mentioned along with a reference to temp fixing in the past. 🙂
As for the above solar discussion. The sun alone has its cycles. Add to that earth wobble, ocean currents, plate movement and volcanic activity with large sulfur dioxide or ash emissions. We do not have the full and accurate data to predict these events let alone prevent them.
IE. An eruption of a volcano NW of Erta Ale in Ethiopia’s Afar region began on 3 November. Satellite imagery showed a large sulfur dioxide cloud that drifted E over the Arabian Peninsula.
A certain amount of heating and cooling can be attributed to the sun. I am a strong believer in that. However I think when we see extreme climate situations such as the MM or Midevil warming, history has shown that a combination of events, not a singular one can be attributed to the cause.
My problem these days is this. Instead of heating and cooling being attributed to the natural cycles of our planet with the added influencing factors I mentioned above, someone somewhere decided that Co2 was the only factor that mattered. They put tunnel vision blinders on and basically gave up any hope of objective observation. Instead of focusing on adapting to our enviornment, the plan has become to control it. I have said this before and I will keep saying it loudly… Man cant even build a successful biosphere, how the heck do we figure we are capable of fixing our planet?
I also have a problem with scientists who choose to take a hard line when it comes to the study of their fields. The trend here seems to be pick the end point and tweek the data to prove it. I do not consider this science, its politics. Until such a time as climate study can be returned to people who are willing to study the changes without an end point agenda influencing the results we will be stuck in the new Dark Ages of scientific research. The truth is that often times scientists theorys are wrong or incomplete. Often times its only through observation that it is proven wrong. If there is no objectivity in observation these days, it may take a very long time for us to see any change in the climate change debacle.

November 17, 2008 3:29 pm

Basil (12:36:45) :
I’m not sure any real trend is evident yet, but since you wrote that, the neutron count at Oulu has indeed been climbing […]
Since this is in spite of the gradual emergence of SC24 sunspots, which do seem to imply that we may be past minimum, could it be taken as a sign of general weakness in SC24?

The cosmic ray intensity is getting back to where it was in 1965: and if you look at Moscow: you get a somewhat different perspective. Different stations see a slightly different picture [Nature is a messy place], and one can’t make a trend out of a few days worth of data. One think to mention is that modulation goes ‘downward’ so you have to compare the upper envelope of the graph.
On SC24: The cycle has barely started and it even may take a year for the changes to propagate through the Heliosphere, so looking at a few weeks of data is not telling much. I would expect the GCR flux to begin decreasing soon, but we have to take into effect the propagation delay.
Harold Ambler (12:49:13) :
You’ve suggested in past posts that the Little Ice Age may have been caused by “internal variability” within Earth’s climate. Could you explain how that works exactly?
Would earn me a Nobel Prize if I could, but I’m not going to do ‘exactly’, but it is a general property of complex system to have ‘internally caused’ fluctuations. An example may be found here: . This could similarly happen on centennial time scales as well. I’m constantly amazed by people unwilling to accept that it can happen to the Earth while at the same time happily accepting that the Sun does it [what causes the variability in the Sun?].
Until and unless you do, I will stay with the zany notion that the Sun had something to do with it.
Hey, don’t despair. They laugh at Bozo The Clown, too 🙂
Harold Ambler (13:02:14) :
Svensmark’s theory itself are all too elaborate, and too elegant, to be known by proxy.
The book is a proxy for the papers. If there is something in the book that he couldn’t get past the reviewers in the ordinary publication of scientific theories, then maybe that is a hint.
I would suggest a direct scientific experiment in which the book is read.
And how would that help? The recent climate has simply not varied like the cosmic ray flux, so how does it help to go back to a time when data was poorer and harder to come by?
Low clouds does correlate nicely with albedo, but neither of them has varied with the solar cycle, so I don’t fell like becoming a fellow zany.

Bill P
November 17, 2008 4:15 pm

An article from the WSJ, on Martin Pomeranz (1916 – 2008):
“Astrophysicist Turned Antarctica Into Hot Spt for Astronomy Research”

Bill P
November 17, 2008 4:53 pm

Dr. Pomeranz pioneered the need for an observatory at the South Pole from which he did astronomy and solar research. I thought this a unique and curious career path:

A former journalism student at Syracuse University who converted to science after taking a “physics for poets” class, he was hired in 1938 by the Bartol Research Foundation, then at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

Bill P
November 17, 2008 5:23 pm

WRT the Russian UHI steam effect: Sounds like you’ve done it again, Anthony.
It would be interesting to set up a winter-long experiment. Assuming those old Stevenson Boxes are the state of the art in Russia, locate one in the vicinity of some geothermal or steam heating pipes somewhere in N. U.S. with comparable temps. Set up the other as the control, well-away from the heating source.
(BTW, I think of “central heating” as a furnace or boiler heating system located centrally within a building or house. Maybe that’s wrong.)

George M
November 17, 2008 5:25 pm

Well, everyone else has posted a location. Try this one. The two buildings in Anthony’s photo are visible, as is the instrumentation field. From Google maps:
Appears to be way out at the very North end of town.

Harold Ambler
November 17, 2008 5:33 pm

Leif Svalgaard (15:29:35): They laugh at Bozo The Clown, too
I must reallybe getting somewhere to be the recipient of a second ad-hominem attack from you in a single day.
Once again, you don’t know what other science is used in the construction of Dr. Svensmark’s argument, because you haven’t read the book.
It is published in Danish, btw.
“Contempt prior to investigation” (probably first said by William Paley) is never a becoming pedagogical vestment.

Pamela Gray
November 17, 2008 5:46 pm

Once again Leif, your logic is ear candy. May I pick you brain? You don’t suppose that the Sun has about the same amount of influence on temps that CO2 does? I am beginning to think that (thanks to your pristine logic), but I also have a question further on. Yes, the Sun affects day and night temps, but that is because the Earth rotates, not because the Sun varies. And the tilt of the Earth changes the way it reacts to the Sun’s constant beams. And cosmic rays seed clouds here and there, as expected. But what if there is a perfect storm condition out there? What if cosmic rays during longer minimums seed clouds that are more numerous, or thicker, or wetter (read set up by a warmer climate, since warmer is wetter), resulting in consequent cooling, and then cooling oceans cycle into this condition at about the same time? Do you consider that the Sun may be involved in a perfect storm scenario? And that this scenario has a cycle? Much like the not quite timed beat of windshield wipers on the school bus?

November 17, 2008 6:00 pm

To Anthony Watts,
I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Russia in both summers and winters. Do not let go of the Russian story. It really cries for its own surfacestations project. This data after all represents up to 1/6th of the earth’s land surface depending on the time period. And it likely represents the largest data array after the USA, Canada and the EU.
Factors to Consider.
1. Of course district heating is widely used. These pipes run everywhere to every building in any community using it. Which is the bulk of them. Probably every town over 10,000 population has a central heating plant to provide hot water for building space heating and for bathing and washing. This stuff is called “technical water” and you don’t ever drink or cook with it.
The total steam flow is obviously much greater in fall/winter/spring when space heating is being employed. It’s greatly reduced in summer when it only needs to supply hot water for bathing and washing.
2. Urban Heat Island effects. Russian cities on average mimick Manhattan Island in the concentration of roofs and the percentage of surrounding pavement. “Green spaces” are often few and far between. Just seas of concrete and asphalt with steam rising up from leaking below ground piping. Some piping is above ground and some is below ground. Google Earth is ready for doubters.
The siting of Russian data stations is of as much critical interest as in the USA.

November 17, 2008 6:12 pm

p.s. Do not assume that stations deep in Siberia and/or above the arctic circle are necessarily isolated rural stations. Norilsk (nickel mining) and Novy Urengoy (GAZPROM n-g town) are two examples of small arctic cities that also have district heating. They were designed and built according to standard Soviet urban planning and construction practices, complete with huge apartment building blocks and district heating plants.
Other such locales include the Kolyma, Archangel, Murmansk

November 17, 2008 6:22 pm

Harold Ambler (17:33:42) :
I must really be getting somewhere to be the recipient of a second ad-hominem attack from you in a single day.
Once again, you don’t know what other science is used in the construction of Dr. Svensmark’s argument, because you haven’t read the book.

Come on, there are no attacks. Little smileys like this one 🙂 indicate that. ‘Zany’ was your word. If you have to put other ‘science’ in a popular book [or press release, or such] it is usually because it will not stand up in regular per-reviewed papers. Anyway, you are getting somewhere: I just bought the book for all of $3 [seems that it is not something that sells well or that people hang on to]. I’ll even waste a day when it arrives in a week and will let you know if I find anything significant that I didn’t know already [which I doubt, because otherwise I’m sure he would have published it in the usual manner].
You see, I take this seriously and look into things. Did you read the articles I referred you to?

Ron de Haan
November 17, 2008 6:30 pm

The Russians will have a ball when Europe punishes her economies with a CO2 reduction. They will be building more solar farms and wind farms.
These farms will need back-up from gas energy plants (because you can start them up very quickly and shut them down very quickly and because gas is a relative clean fuel. This will make Europe more dependent on Gas from Russia.
So in a way the Russians currently have an interest in the continuation of the AGW fairy tail.
Therefore it is a good idea to have a close look at the temp data from Russia.
I have just put this info about CO2 as a comment on the “Questions on GISS Temp product” but I copy it here as well: (it’s from Hans Schreuder,
Statement: NO CO2 forcing. CO2 is a trace gas, 0.0365% of our atmosphere.
Governments have spend over 50 billion US dollar to get the proof on the table that CO2 is causing AGW and what they have come up with is plain lies. There is 0 proof.
The settled science that a greenhouse warms up due to re-radiated light (energy), as set out by Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), Arrhenius (1896), NASA (2008), et al., is false.
Considering, therefore, that even inside an actual greenhouse with a barrier of solid glass no such phenomenon as a greenhouse effect occurs, most certainly there can be no greenhouse effect in our turbulent atmosphere.
Energy can not be created from nothing, not even by means of re-radiated infra red. Widely accepted theory has it that more energy is re-radiated to earth than comes from the sun in the first place, amounting to almost an extra two suns. All materials above zero Kelvin radiate energy, yes, but energy does not flow from a cold body to a warm one and cause its temperature to rise. A block of ice in a room does not cause the room to warm up, despite the block of ice radiating its energy into the room. Yet carbon dioxide’s re-radiation of infrared energy warming up planet earth is the preposterous theory hailed by not only the alarmists, but accepted and elaborated by most skeptics as well, with mathematical theorems that do little more than calculate the number of fairies that can dance on a pinhead.
The accepted carbon dioxide greenhouse theory is thus declared a complete and total scam, as more fully detailed in these papers, amongst many (and I salute all scientists who agree with these papers and will gladly publicise all papers on this subject) :
“Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics” and
“Greenhouse Gas Hypothesis Violates Fundamentals of Physics”
Hans Schreuder
Ipswich, UK
“Really new trails are rarely blazed in the great academies.
The confining walls of conformist dogma are too dominating.
To think originally, you must go forth into the wilderness.”
S. Warren Carey
“One definition of insanity is the compulsion
to make the same mistake over and over again
all the while expecting a different and successful outcome.”
Phil Brennan
The changes in climate are due to “the hot/cold bottle effect of our oceans warming or cooling the landmasses and the activity of the sun and variations in cloud cover.
As well as incidental volcanic activity.
See the three short video’s:
In this video’s the whole case is explained and more…
For example why in one year at a certain spot in the ocean you can find haring in abundance and the next year they are all gone!
Very interesting stuff.
The whole AGW swindle has a political goal which I think is frightening.

November 17, 2008 6:40 pm

Pamela Gray (17:46:17) :
You don’t suppose that the Sun has about the same amount of influence on temps that CO2 does?
If that amount is zero I might agree 🙂 . Well, they are both small [and, surely, not the same to the tenth decimal place…].
Do you consider that the Sun may be involved in a perfect storm scenario?
The variation of GCRs is also small, so I do not think that the coincidence of some small effects can make a perfect storm, and if they did, it would be [as perfect storms are] a rare event and hence not to be considered a primary or major climate driver.
You might think that if we get a very large Solar particle event that that might have an effect [be the trigger for a perfect storm]. Here is a recent paper on that:
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 113, A11311, doi:10.1029/2008JA013517, 2008
The effects of hard-spectra solar proton events on the middle atmosphere
A. Seppälä er al.
The stratospheric and mesospheric impacts of the solar proton events of January 2005 are studied here using ion and neutral chemistry modeling and subionospheric radio wave propagation observations and modeling. This period includes three SPEs, among them an extraordinary solar proton storm on 20 January, during which the >100 MeV proton fluxes were unusually high, making this event the hardest in solar cycle 23. The radio wave results show a significant impact to the lower ionosphere/middle atmosphere from the hard spectrum event of 20 January with a sudden radio wave amplitude decrease of about 10 dB. Results from the Sodankylä Ion and Neutral Chemistry model predict large impacts on the mesospheric NO x (400–500%) and ozone (−30 to −40% NH, −15% SH) in both the northern (winter) and the southern (summer) polar regions. The direct stratospheric effects, however, are only about 10–20% enhancement in NO x , which result in −1% change in O3. Imposing a much larger extreme SPE lasting 24 hours rather than just 1 hour produced only about 5% ozone depletion in the stratosphere. Only a massive hard-spectra SPE with high-energy fluxes over ten times larger than observed here (>30 MeV fluence of 1.0 × 109 protons/cm2), as, e.g., the Carrington event of 1859 (>30 MeV fluence of 1.9 × 1010 protons/cm2), could presumably produce significant in situ impacts on stratospheric ozone.
Energetic particles from the Sun have negligible effect on stratospheric ozone, unless you have a one-in-a-century event. So, I don’t think that ‘perfect storms’ need to worry us too much.

David Jay
November 17, 2008 6:42 pm

WUWT was named, along with Climate Audit, on Special Report with Britt Hume this evening…

George M
November 17, 2008 6:56 pm

I was in such a hurry to post the actual location of the station, I overlooked the steam pipe just across the dirt road ENE of the building and instrument field. It appears to be in some sort of industrial complex, and can be identified by the U expansion joint I asked about much earlier. Now I’m wondering what the other straight line is adjacent to the meteo building and instruments on that same side. The fence appears to be shorter than this line, which is also much narrower than the steam pipe. Anyone have a link to a winter satellite photo of this area?

Jack Simmons
November 17, 2008 7:30 pm

Oh how I love this site.
There are some real exchanges going on here.
Love it.
Love it.
Love it.

M. Jeff
November 17, 2008 7:35 pm

Anyone else check the location referenced by “George M (17:25:05) : … The two buildings in Anthony’s photo are visible, as is the instrumentation field. From Google maps:
67.565295,133.41239 Appears to be way out at the very North end of town.”
The buildings do seem to fit the photo. Using
67.565295, 133.412590 moves the “A” marker to the right of the first building, and the second building seems to be about 35 meters to the NNW of the first.

Harold Ambler