11 August 2010

Amazing NASA Images of Russian Heat and Smoke

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Click image for full resolution. Image from NASA Aqua satellite.

The amazing and unprecedented Russian heat wave continues. Moscow hit 34C today, which is cooler than the near 38C (100°F) temperatures of the last few days. The fires burning in the drought ravaged peat bogs and forests around Moscow continue to cover Western Russia in a thick pall of smoke.

The intense heat can also be seen from the MODIS sensor on the NASA Terra satellite. This sensor allowed researchers to measure the average ground temperature over Russia from July 20-27th. They then compared that with the normal temperatures you would expect in late July to produce the map below.

Red areas indicate above normal temperatures. Blue is areas where the temp. was below normal from 20-27 July 2010. Image from NASA Terra satellite. Click for higher resolution.

There are some strong indications that the storm track over Russia is about to change and allow some cooler air to reach Moscow. It looks like it will stay quite warm but when you are breaking the record high by 19 degrees day after day, anything cooler is welcome. Keep in mind too that at Moscow’s latitude almost no one has an air conditioner. Until this year they would only be needed a couple of days a year!

Coverage of the heatwave on the BBC is worth reading and do check out the podcast of FOC (From our Own Correspondent) for a first hand account.

As for the climate change connections, see my last post on the Moscow heat. It still holds.

Here in Huntsville, we set a new record today. Today makes 37 days in a row with the morning low at 21C (70F) or higher. We also just had the hottest 10 days ever recorded here. Greenland is looking very nice right now!