Norilsk - above the Arctic Circle - is known as one of the world's coldest cites, and is built on permafrost. This sunbathing picture was taken around Lake Baikal on 24 July 2013. Photo: The Siberian Times

24 July 2013 (The Siberian Times) – Norilsk has hit 32C in recent days with some forecasts predicting a blistering 35C by the weekend as the Arctic competes with the Mediterranean. The tundra turned hot as the Kransnoyarsk region industrial city - where foreigners are restricted from visiting - smashed records for heat established in 1979.

The average temperature in July is 13.6 but the mercury was touching 32C, a long way from the coldest-ever recorded temperature of minus 61C.

The previous hottest was 31.9C, more than three decades ago.

'I've never worn a bikini before in Norilsk, just to top up my tan', said Polina, 21, a student.

The hot spell is likely to last at least until 26 July, say forecasters.

Norilsk - above the Arctic Circle - is known as one of the world's coldest cites, and is built on permafrost. Frosty weather is a reality for 280 days a year. In summer time, average air temperatures are 14.6 degrees, before this year when Norilsk finds itself in the furnace.

Norilsk breaks records for Arctic heat in a new sign of changing weather patterns


500 mb heights and temperature anomaly map for 21 July 2013, when the haet dome over Siberia was at its strongest. Graphic: Kyle Griffin

By Philip Bump 
26 July 2013

(The Atlantic Wire) – Your mental image of Siberia is probably a snowy, wind-whipped expanse, perhaps with a cluster of buildings to house those banished from Russian society. Not this week. This week, Norilsk, the northernmost large city in the world, the second largest city north of the Arctic Circle, and the site of one of those gulags, hit a balmy 32 degrees Celsius — about 90 Fahrenheit. It's normally in the mid-60s.

The online outlet The Siberian Times ("up-to-date information in English from across Siberia's six time zones") featured a photo of people sunbathing on the shores of Lake Baikal in its report on what may be a new record high. […]

Minus 61 degrees Celsius is about 78 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

The Weather Underground (from which the map above comes) described the bizarre heatwave on Wednesday. The site was also unable to figure out if Norilsk has seen such temperatures before.

The extraordinary and perhaps unprecedented heat wave continues in the central arctic region of Russia. Some locations have now endured 10 consecutive days above 30°C (86°F). Wildfires are erupting in the taiga forests …
The prolonged heat wave is the result of an amazingly intense and prolonged heat dome that has centered itself over north central Siberia.

A similar "heat dome" was responsible for the heat wave blanketing the East Coast last week. […]

The city is far enough north — over 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle — that it's built on permafrost, permanently frozen ground solid enough to support buildings and infrastructure. In other words, and as we outlined yesterday, extended periods of high temperatures would not be a good thing.

It's 90 Degrees in Siberia and People Are Sunbathing


Weather data for June-July 2013 at Svetlogorsk, located on the Arctic Circle at 66° 50'N and 88° 24'E, in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region. Note the amazing endurance of this heat event. The normal daily high temperatures for this site the last half of July are around 20°C (68°F). Graphic: Christopher C. Burt / OGIMET data

By Christopher C. Burt
22 July 2013

(wunderground.com) – The extraordinary and perhaps unprecedented heat wave continues in the central arctic region of Russia. Some locations have now endured 10 consecutive days above 30°C (86°F). Wildfires are erupting in the taiga forests (see more about this in the comments section following this blog). Norilsk maximum daily temperatures have cooled down a little, but yesterday (July 23rd) it enjoyed its warmest night so far with a low of 20.2°C (68.4°F).

Norilsk, with a population of 175,000, is located at 69° 20’N and 88° 6’E and is the most northerly city in the world with a population over 100,000.

It has long been a mining center (and gulag during the Stalin years) located in the far northeast of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Krai Region. For the past week temperatures have been running as much as 10-15°C above normal throughout the central arctic region of Russia. The 32.0°C (89.6°F) measured at Norilsk on July 21st would appear to be short of the city's warmest temperature on record which was 32.2°C (90°F) on two previous occasions.

Svetlogorsk, just above the Arctic Circle at 66° 56'N, has now endure an astonishing 10 consecutive days above 30°C (86°F) as of July 23rd and had a run of three consecutive days above 90°F (32.2°C).

The prolonged heat wave is the result of an amazingly intense and prolonged heat dome that has centered itself over north central Siberia. The anomalous temperature heights are some 2-3 sigmas above normal.

It remains unclear whether or not any all-time records have been broken at any sites in Russia the past few weeks or if these are the highest temperatures ever observed at so northerly a latitude. [more]

UPDATE July 24th: Heat Wave continues in Siberia

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