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Siberian Heatwave–Climate Or Weather?

June 27, 2020

By Paul Homewood


h/t Patsy Lacey 


The Conversation has now got involved in the Arctic heatwave scare, with this article by Jonathan Bamber, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Bristol :




On the eve of the summer solstice, something very worrying happened in the Arctic Circle. For the first time in recorded history, temperatures reached 38°C (101°F) in a remote Siberian town – 18°C warmer than the maximum daily average for June in this part of the world, and the all-time temperature record for the region.

New records are being set every year, and not just for maximum temperatures, but for melting ice and wildfires too. That’s because air temperatures across the Arctic have been increasing at a rate that is about twice the global average.

All that heat has consequences. Siberia’s recent heatwave, and high summer temperatures in previous years, have been accelerating the melting of Arctic permafrost. This is the permanently frozen ground which has a thin surface layer that melts and refreezes each year. As temperatures rise, the surface layer gets deeper and structures embedded in it start to fail as the ground beneath them expands and contracts. This is what is partly to blame for the catastrophic oil spill that occurred in Siberia in June 2020, when a fuel reservoir collapsed and released more than 21,000 tonnes of fuel – the largest ever spill in the Arctic.

So what is wrong with the Arctic, and why does climate change here seem so much more severe compared to the rest of the world?

The article goes on in similar vein, talking about albedo, how the computer models forecast all of this and how it is all part of a longer term trend. It concludes:

The Arctic has sometimes been described as the canary in the coal mine for climate breakdown. Well it’s singing pretty loudly right now and it will get louder and louder in years to come.

However, the article ignores some very inconvenient facts.

For a start, as I have already pointed out here, the new temperature record at Verhojansk is only 0.7C higher than the previous record set in 1988. Hardly a sign of apocalypse.

Analysis shows that extremely hot days are not uncommon at Verhojansk, with notable heatwaves occurring in 1988 and 2010. Prior to this summer, the last really hot day was in July 2011, when temperatures reached 34.1C.

The idea that places in the Arctic should not be getting this hot is an emotive one, but not one supported by the evidence.



This analysis alone suggests that there is no longer term trend to more frequent and intense heatwaves there.

A similar picture emerges when we look at average summer temperatures. The warmest summer at Verhojansk was as long ago as 1917! The summers of 2010 and 2011 were also unusually hot, but since then summers have been no hotter than some in the early 20thC:




Returning to this summer, it is worth noting that the claimed record of 38C on June 20th has not even been verified yet, and has actually been removed from the official GHCN database (presumably until it is proved to be genuine – it was, by the way, in the GHCN when I checked earlier this week):



It is surely premature for The Conversation to be rushing to publish articles such as this, when we don’t even know whether the data is correct.


Looking at the Arctic from a wider perspective, we should also recognise that this new “record” replaces the previous one in Alaska of 37.8C, which was set in 1915! An increase of 0.2C in more than a century is hardly a cause for panic.


Bamber also claims that air temperatures across the Arctic have been increasing at a rate that is about twice the global average. However this ignores the cyclical nature of the Arctic climate.

Generally speaking, temperatures across the Arctic were broadly as high in the 1930s and 40s as they are now. In between times, temperatures plunged in the 1960s and 70s, the time when Arctic sea ice also expanded massively:

This cycle is intimately tied in with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The data clearly shows that the warming part of the cycle, which began around 1990, has now levelled off. The likelihood is that the Arctic will get much colder when the AMO turns negative again.

  1. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    June 27, 2020 11:31 am

    Bound to happen, as we recover from the Little Ice Age. Chance to grow more food?

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 27, 2020 11:32 am

    It’s a strange world of double standards isn’t it!

  3. Ron Arnett permalink
    June 27, 2020 11:33 am

    Thanks for the info.

  4. June 27, 2020 11:43 am

    How do human CO2 emissions do this?

    • arfurbryant permalink
      June 27, 2020 11:52 am

      They don’t. There is no physical mechanism whereby increasing CO2 in the atmosphere can significantly change the climate. Climate advocates can talk as much rubbish as they wish but they can’t change the Laws of Physics. Unfortunately, with the mainstream media in full ‘sensationalism rules’ mode, the truth just gets ignored.

  5. June 27, 2020 11:57 am

    “The Holocene Climate Optimum warm event consisted of increases of up to 4 °C near the North Pole (in one study, winter warming of 3 to 9 °C and summer of 2 to 6 °C in northern central Siberia)

    Out of 140 sites across the western Arctic, there is clear evidence for conditions warmer than now at 120 sites. At 16 sites, where quantitative estimates have been obtained, local HTM temperatures were on average 1.6±0.8 °C higher than now.”

  6. mikewaite permalink
    June 27, 2020 12:20 pm

    Supposing one of Bamber’s students, as part of a dissertation or essay, did the same literature search, as above, and found the facts contradicting or at least questioning their professor’s very public statement. What should they do: expose the faults in the Dept head’s post , and get a F for their paper and goodbye to all hopes of at least a 2.1, or scout around for something , anything that justifies the prof’s post and ignore anything contradictory?
    This situation must be occurring quite frequently these days .

  7. Geoff B permalink
    June 27, 2020 12:29 pm

    Here is the first sentence of his bio on the Bristol website. Satellites only came into use in the 1970’s, so I assume that is the start point for his data. Basically at the lowest temperature of the AMO. Why would a professor not know that? His e mail is so I will ask him.

    Research summary
    I am a physicist who uses Earth Observation (EO) data, primarily from satellites but also airborne platforms, to study the cryosphere. My research interests are broad but can loosely be described as cryospheric processes and their interaction with the rest of the climate system.

  8. Gamecock permalink
    June 27, 2020 1:04 pm

    ‘For the first time in recorded history, temperatures reached 38°C (101°F) in a remote Siberian town’

    So, uh, how much recorded history do you have for that there remote town?

  9. June 27, 2020 1:13 pm

    Great post. Thanks.

  10. Mark Hodgson permalink
    June 27, 2020 1:40 pm


    Have you tried posting these comments at the Conversation? If so, I’d like to know what response it generates. It’s known to many as the Nonversation, since despite the idea that it’s about having a conversation, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in hearing alternative points of view.

    • June 27, 2020 2:10 pm

      Yes, I’ve left a comment, although all the others are a day old or more, so there might not be many more views.

      But I have also emailed the Editor, asking if he would print a reply

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 27, 2020 9:45 pm

      It’s well know they introduced this policy, I’m sure Paul remembers!

      I can’t find who those ‘philanthropists’ are but we can guess, the usual bunch with deeply troubling motives/ideas – like Soros, Bloomberg, Steyer, Rockefeller, Grantham etc.

      The Conversation has close links with academia in multiple countries and seems to be a hub/club for coordinating/controlling.

      “Oxford is a member of The Conversation and as such receives regular opportunities for researchers and academics across the University to contribute articles and to take part in hands-on training to enhance writing and engagement skills. The articles are often picked up by other media (including the BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post) resulting in even greater reach to audiences that can include academics, policymakers, funders and the public.”‘

  11. Broadlands permalink
    June 27, 2020 1:40 pm

    Dear Professor Bamber: If it is true that the Arctic is warming so much faster than the rest of the world then the Northern hemisphere values when added to those for the Southern hemisphere and divided by two should result in the global average…currently 14.83°C. Where are those hemispheric numbers to be found?

    The 20th century average for the US 48 states is five degrees Fahrenheit. colder than the globe. Global warming?

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 27, 2020 3:05 pm

      14.83°C is a math trick.

      Think 288 Kelvin. Alleged temperature change over last generation is from 287.6K to 288K.

      OH NOES!

  12. June 27, 2020 2:10 pm

    Typo “38C on July 20th”, should be June.

    Good work Paul, keep it up.

  13. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 27, 2020 2:17 pm

    Perhaps the Professor should spend next February in Verkhoyansk. It would give him the opportunity to cool his heels. -60C should help too.

  14. June 27, 2020 2:52 pm

    Verkhoyansk holds the record for both the hottest and the coldest temperatures ever recorded above the Arctic circle, with 38.0 °C (100.4 °F) and −67.8 °C (−90.0 °F) respectively – Wikipedia, Verkhoyansk page.

    So it’s real claim to fame is the range of variability. It’s not much inside the Arctic circle, at 67°33′N.

  15. David permalink
    June 27, 2020 2:54 pm

    Did anyone hear the nice lady on ‘Thought For The Day’ this morning? She was upset that we are supposed to be heading for a 4 deg rise very soon! Perhaps reading this blog would calm her a little.

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 27, 2020 3:06 pm

      It is summer.

  16. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 27, 2020 3:49 pm

    I can guarantee that within a few months/years there will be a pool of near record/record cold air sitting in more or less the same place and being blamed for an incoming Beast from the East.

    There is always somewhere on the earth that is experiencing a heatwave. All the mendacious alarmists have to do is ‘ambulance chase’ and give a completely misleading impression.

    It may or may not be a record for inside the imaginary map line of the Arctic Circle, but it is nowhere near a record for Siberia.

  17. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 27, 2020 4:09 pm

    He claims it is 18° above average but what us the SD for the average maximum? Can he show utsoutside 2 SDs? I have my doubts.

  18. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 27, 2020 5:17 pm

    Another BBC electric plane plug, as usual slightly misleading.

    This one is hydrogen fueled so marginally less impractical than the battery one featured before. The aim is still only for modest hops.


    ‘milestone’ – first flight in UK, not elsewhere.
    ’emission free’ – the manufacture of the plane and hydrogen obviously isn’t.


    And who is paying at least a £2.7M contribution for this pointless thing – we are.


    (Paste links and remove *s)

    • Geoff B permalink
      June 27, 2020 6:44 pm

      Energy density of hydrogen is lower than petrol, unless its highly compressed (150 bar) and then the fuel tank is heavy. Its just a fuel cell connected to an electric motor, why do they need £2.7 million. However it is probably more practical than a battery, at least the oxygen comes from the atmosphere.

    • June 27, 2020 8:14 pm

      The joke of it all is, given that the Climate Ideologs are so obsessed with greenhouse gases, is that the resultant product of burning hydrogen is water vapour, the MAIN greenhouse gas! The irony will of course be lost on them in part because the IPCC refuse to go any where near Water Vapour claiming weakly that it is impossible to quantify the amount i the atmosphere and also its variation because if they do…. the monkey will be out of the box.

  19. Mad Mike permalink
    June 27, 2020 6:08 pm

    I’m looking forward to the next video by Naomi and Lord Monkton. In the last video I couldn’t make out the list of scientific papers that were supposed to prove the 97% nonsense. Does anybody know where I can view the list?

    • June 27, 2020 7:31 pm

      This is the website for the 97% survey.

      It would seem that you can’t just download a list of papers. You can only do a search which requires either a search string or an author.

      Out of curiosity, I tried doing a search on the author, Richard Lindzen. He is one of the most prominent climate sceptics in the world, with over 200 publications to his name. Only 4 of these publications found their way into the 97% survey and 1 of those appears likely to have been mis-classified ! So much for this survey being representative of scientific opinion.

      Although it’s great to have Lord Monckton on our side, I’m not a great fan of his style of writing and delivery. It gives so much opportunity for ad hominem responses, deflection and straw man argumentation. If you want to understand some of the major flaws with the 97% survey, read this :-

      Bear in mind also that a count of published papers has as much to do with where research funding is directed as where the balance of opinion lies.

    • June 27, 2020 8:29 pm

      One of the things I picked up right at the start is that the overwhelming majority of papers used offered no views on global warming at all. For instance, there would be papers which commented on how GHGs could be reduced. Or papers which examined what the effect of drastic global warming would be.

      There are a few examples here.(Excuse missing images, WordPress erase old images to save on storage space)

      • Mad Mike permalink
        June 28, 2020 10:04 am

        Thanks Paul and David. Lots of reading there.

  20. Broadlands permalink
    June 27, 2020 6:52 pm

    Not to be outdone, New York magazine has weighed in on this devastating news….

    How does one counter all this increasingly shrill climate change doom and gloom?

    • Geoff B permalink
      June 27, 2020 7:24 pm

      Its written by David Wallace Wells who is a US George Monbiot, only worse. He wrote “The Uninhabitable Earth”. The article is the usual rubbish, just making the usual sweeping generalisations with few facts.

  21. Colin MacDonald permalink
    June 27, 2020 6:56 pm

    I know that back in 1975 the maximum temperature that had ever been recorded in Verkhoyansk was 36.7° So this has broken a record by about a degree. In a town where summer is about 60°C warmer than winter. I’m not sure how this is a crisis.

  22. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    June 27, 2020 9:10 pm

    Because the sub-solar point is far into the Northern Hemisphere during June, the day length is long. Solar insolation is therefore high. In fact it is higher from just south of 60° N. Lat. to the Pole than all other places on Earth.
    See the chart here: insolation by Latitude

    Verhojansk is a “continential” location – not near a coast. Such places are “air mass source regions.” We live in central Washington State and experience high summer temperatures and cold winters. Verhojansk is more extreme, but the physical aspects are similar.

    Climate(s) – note the plural – are established by these sorts of geographic characteristics.
    Many writers for publications such as this post quotes are clueless regarding how Earth works.
    I am appalled that “Jonathan Bamber, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Bristol” would not know such stuff.

    What did you do with the money, Jonathan?
    “what money?”
    The money your mother gave you for your education!

  23. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 27, 2020 11:22 pm

    Archaeologists looking at the Viking settlements in Greenland report that the permafrost layer just below the surface contains tree roots. As those roots wouldn’t have grown into permafrost it is proof that in those times that ground wasn’t frozen. People lived there for over 400 years until the climate got too cold to survive.
    So, all the panic about “catastrophic warming” from methane release is just nonsense.

  24. June 28, 2020 12:21 am

    Just two days of high temperatures? Try looking at what the winds were doing. Maybe those winds are recorded or maybe you’ll need to find the synoptic charts of sea level air pressure and look at the Lows and Highs.

    FWIW, it takes just 3 days of temperatures 10 degrees above average for the month to push the monthly mean 1 deg above that average. Unfortunately people get the impression that if the mean was 1 deg above average then every day was 1 degree above average.

    • dave permalink
      June 28, 2020 9:48 am

      Jet streams displaced towards the Equator are now the ‘new normal,’ as predicted by Piers Corbyn and others. They are long, bendy, and ‘wild.’ They steer, meridionally, hot and cold air masses. This will always produce occasional “Wow!” moments. But it is merely a change in mixing.


  25. June 28, 2020 8:08 am

    Temperature data at Verhojansk are available since 1885 and show a typical, cyclical trend over that period. The overall linear trend is 1.6 degC/century. In summer (JJA) figure is 1.1 while the mid-winter (DJF) trend is 3.1 degC/century. It is interesting (but not unique to Verhojansk) that since 1970 there has been an average increase of 5.1 degC/century but this was a repetition of an earlier 50-year period 1900-1949 when the average increase was 2.9 degC-century. These values are similar to other stations in Siberia.

  26. June 28, 2020 8:44 am

    There was hot weather there in the 19th century, here is an extract from Hubert Lamb, “Climate History and the Modern World” (which is available as a free pdf):

  27. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 29, 2020 7:44 am

    When one looks at Charctic Interactive Sea Ice graph, one notes nothing unusual. It’s declining towards four million square kilometres as usual for third week in September . And get up earth.nullschool. net and dot around the Arctic, nothing frightening.

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