The Hunt for Global Warming: Moscow and Urban Heating

  • 34 climate stations centred on Moscow are divided into three groups: 1) Large cities over 1 million 2) large towns and small cities 20,000 to 1 million and 3) Rural 20,000 and less.
  • The warming trend through the large cities is +2˚C since 1880. The warming trend through the rural records is +1.2˚C since 1880. The large towns and small cities lie close to but slightly warmer than the rural records. There is clear evidence for urban warming.
  • It is quite clear that the rural records provide the most reliable evidence for warming from this region that spans a 765 km radius around Moscow. Including the large cities in a regression biases results upwards by +0.4˚C.
  • Berkeley Earth report warming for Russia of +3.39˚C per century since 1960. The rural records I have selected yield 0.92˚C warming per century. Clearly a very large discrepancy that requires an explanation.

Are things heating up in Moscow?

My hunt for global warming is moving north. I am not yet done with the southern hemisphere and will return south next week with a summary that will include S Island New Zealand and Paraguay in addition to Central Australia, Southern Africa, Patagonia and Antarctica that have all been dealt with individually [1 to 5].

In this post I want to make a first pass at characterising urban warming that is distinctively different to CO2 forced global warming. Urban warming was formerly non-contentious, that was until Berkeley Earth published BEST and more or less declared urban warming dead [6].

Time series of the Earth’s average land temperature are estimated using the Berekley Earth methodology applied to the full dataset and the rural subset: the difference of these is consistent with no urban heating over the period 1950 to 2010, with a slope of -0.1±0.24/100yr (95% confidence).

This is a poorly formulated statement. For a start we have to guess that they mean 0.1±0.24˚C/100yrs. And we need to note they are comparing a rural sub-set with the whole data set, not an urban sub-set of records. And so what they mean is that urban heating does not impact their whole data set and not that urban heating does not exist. Reading the paper we learn that urban records are adjusted to a regional average, are de-weighted if they depart from that regional average and are further de-weighted by area weighting since urban areas account for only 0.5% of global land area.

Whilst I approve the methodology of comparing a record to a regional average (congruity) to judge the quality of a record, I believe it is absolutely wrong to adjust a record to some pre-conceived idea of what it should show. The average of a selection of good quality records will give the regional average. There is absolutely no need to apply an adjustment. If a record is good, it should be in, if it is bad for whatever reason, it should be out.

Dealing with urban records is nonetheless tricky. Ideally they should all be excluded to minimise any direct impacts of Man on the temperature record. But in many areas, the urban records are often the longest and most continuous and if you want a long record that goes back to 1880, it may be unavoidable to use the urban ones. In southern Africa, some urban records were flat, in line with rural records, whilst some showed clear warming.

Clicking around on the NASA GISS GHCNV2 map, I have found it difficult to find decent sets of congruous records from heavily populated areas. But in doing so Russia caught my eye for a number of reasons. First it comprises 11.35% of the global land area. Second, it has a large number of long continuous records from both urban and rural areas and third, as we shall see, the data appear to be of excellent quality. Thus I got distracted and set about doing an urban-rural comparison and what better place to start than with Moscow, a conurbation with over 8 million people.


I placed Moscow at the centre of a NASA GISS GHCNV2 search that returned the stations  shown in Figure 1. This showed 6 cities with over 1 million people spread across W Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. I wanted to compare these with rural stations where I selected 9 towns of 20,000 or less. Flicking through the station charts it was clear the urban records showed warming, less so for the rural records. The results were in a way surprising hence I took time to add a third group comprising the remaining stations giving 34 records in total.

Figure 1 34 stations selected by a NASA GISS search placing Moscow at the centre.

Figure 2 The study area with Moscow, Kharkov, Kiev, Minsk and St Petersburg labelled. The dark green is forest, the paler brown is agricultural land. I’d be interested to know if the predominance of agricultural land to the south reflects deforestation or was this previously natural grassland?

Figure 3 The number of operational stations is extraordinarily good with many long records. All 34 stations operational  from 1952 to 1970. And note that during WWII some stations went off line but most remained operational, which I find extraordinary. The main discontinuity comes in 1990 with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Anomalies (dT) are calculated by deducting the station average from the time temperature series for that station. Where I have compared this method with a fixed base period of 1963 to 1992 no material difference is evident and it is time consuming to do this both ways all the time. Throughout I use the GHCN V2 data that are only slightly adjusted from raw records. I have yet to find a user friendly source of raw records (V1) on line.

Figure 4 There is no doubt from this data that temperatures have been rising in these large cities fairly continuously since 1880. A regression through the data shows an increase of +2˚C since 1880 (+1.53˚C per century). The tops and bottoms are rising with similar gradient and the data bears all the hall marks of a rising trend. A feature of the bottoms are four cold spikes that break through the rising trend, most notably in 1941/42 which is a feature we will see in many European records and one that killed many Germans and Russians during WWII.

Figure 5 Nine rural records from the area surrounding Moscow. If you click on the charts they will open in a new browser window. If you do this and compare this chart with Figure 3, you will be hard pressed to see the differences between them. There is a very high degree of congruity. But doing a regression through these 9 rural records we do get a significantly reduced amount of warming of +1.2˚C since 1880 (+0.92˚C per century).

Thus my hunch from visual inspection proved to be correct although the amount of difference between the rural and urban was not as large as I expected. The high degree of congruity between these two groups led me to look at the remaining records from large towns and small cities to see if they lay in between the urban and rural groups.

Figure 6  The intermediate group of large towns and small cities do indeed give a trend intermediate to the rural and large cities groups although only marginally and insignificantly warmer than the rural group with a gradient of +1.3˚C since 1880.

Figure 7 And for good measure the three groups plotted together which really brings home the high level of congruity between the groups and the small differences in gradient that exist between them.

There is no doubt in my mind that of the three groups, the rural group is the one most likely to be representative of warming in this part of Russia although the towns and small cities group is almost the same. Adding in the 6 records for large cities will bias the results. There are two simple ways to assess this bias. The first is to give each station equal weight and to use simple arithmetic:

Sum = 47.5/34 stations = 1.4˚C

So simple arithmetic equal weight would bias the results upwards by +0.2˚C. The other way is to simply plot all the data together and run a regression:

Figure 8 Regressing all the data together gives a slope of +1.6˚C, significantly higher than the rural only result.


The rural only records from this part of Russia and neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus show warming of +1.2˚C since 1880 equivalent to +0.92˚C per century. Records from large towns and small cities yield a result biased 0.1˚C higher and are effectively the same as the rural records. The records from large conurbations over 1 million yield +2.0˚C since 1880 and clearly bias the results upwards if included in a regression.

Berkeley Earth (BEST) report a warming trend for Russia of +3.39˚C per century since 1960, almost 4 times the rate of the rural records reported here [7]. From the data reported here there is no reason to select 1960 as a start date since the trend is linearly up since 1880. Looking else where in Russia, for example E Siberia (work in progress), two warming legs are recognised, one does begin in the 1960s, and there beginning a regression in 1960 may have some merit. But in E Siberia, it was as warm in 1943 as it was in 2007 and a case can be made for no warming at all.

This post is a first and simple pass at Russia and urban heating that I will build upon. I find clear evidence of urban heating. Urban stations that display warming trends that can be attributed to the urban location, should not be used in temperature reconstructions.

Time series of the Earth’s average land temperature are estimated using the Berkeley Earth methodology applied to the full dataset and the rural subset: the difference of these is consistent with no urban heating over the period 1950 to 2010, with a slope of -0.1±0.24/100yr (95% confidence).

The data presented here, though limited, do not support this statement from Berkeley Earth. Nor do the results presented here support the high annualised rate of warming reported for Russia by that group.

[1] Temperature Adjustments in Australia
[2] The Hunt For Global Warming: Southern Africa
[3] The Hunt For Global Warming: Southern Africa Part 2
[4] The Hunt for Global Warming: South America
[5] The Hunt For Global Warming: Antarctica
[6] Wickham et al 2013: Influence of Urban Heating on theGlobal Temperature Average using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications
[7] Berkeley Earth

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46 Responses to The Hunt for Global Warming: Moscow and Urban Heating

  1. Willem Post says:


    The uptake from your recent posts: The more people, the more GDP, the more warming.

    That CO2 is concurrently increasing is a mere coincidence and by itself just a minor GW contributor.

    GW, natural and manmade, would happen anyway, even if all fossil fuel is replaced by renewables, as proven before the 1850s.

    The late 1700s, the low point of the Little Ice Age, was a lot colder than the 1850s and CO2 had not changed for about 70 years!!

    It is a natural reaction to place all woes on a villain.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Willem, I have yet to decide what I will conclude from this tour of global temperature records. Currently I see five processes that need to be taken into account 1) faulty records, 2) urban heating, 3) land use change 4) GHG and 5) natural climate cycles.

      I believe that urban heating and land use change may merge to cause regional warming in heavily populated areas like western Europe and parts of the USA, Asia etc. In areas like that rural records might not escape. But as already said, I’m not sure yet what I will conclude.

      Below is the chart for E Siberia. This I think presents an interesting challenge. Simply running a regression through all the data shows 1.7˚C warming. But I can make an equally strong argument for zero warming based on flat tops and bottoms. When all records begin in 1880 which was cold most places in N hemisphere, a warming gradient becomes an inevitability. Had the thermometers been deployed 50 years later, a very different picture would have emerged.

      Why should we panic about melting permafrost when it was apparently as warm in 1943 as it was today? Merging this kind of record with the Moscow area records will remove that vital piece of information.

      • Euan,

        1) faulty records – even without “faulty records”, we have myriads of other evidence that Earth is warming, and rapidly so

        2) UHI – account for insignificantly small amount of global warming. More importantly, places remote from humans are warming faster (e.g. Arctic)

        3) Land use – in the net effect, it causes slight cooling, not warming.

        5) If there are no humans on this planet, global temperature would slowly decline will reaching another ice ige (though not sooner than in few thousands years probably)

        Now to permafrost: One hot year (1942) means nothing. More hot years (2007 onwards) and still hotter in the future, means a lot.

        A recent study estimated continued warming would produce an additional 35-205 billon tons of carbon emissions (about 2-10 percent of current global totals) from permafrost by 2100.

        …global atmospheric methane concentrations could increase tenfold in the coming years.

        Siberia’s Permafrost Is Exploding. Is Alaska’s Next?

        And here is on more important study from Science on (dangers of) permafrost:

        …global climates only slightly warmer than today are sufficient to thaw extensive regions of permafrost.

        Speleothems Reveal 500,000-Year History of Siberian Permafrost


        • Euan Mearns says:

          Alex, thanks for the links.

          If this is an “eruptive crater” then my professional opinion as a geologist is that it is impossible to form this from the degassing of shallow permafrost which by definition in any given area can only degas a small amount.

          Looking at the erosive features around the “vent” I’d say this is old. Thousands to 10,000s of thousands of years.

          The Yamal peninsula is part of the west Siberian natural gas province with many of the worlds biggest gas fields located there. You have probably used some of it in your life time. IF this is an eruptive crater formed by escaping gas it had a HUGE amount of energy and would then clearly have a DEEP origin.

          Many oil and gas fields leak oil and gas all the time. And unfortunately sometimes, due to natural geological tectonic processes they can be breached. The natural seal gets broken and the oil and gas leaks to surface. IF this is formed by escaping gas then it has in my opinion been the result of catastrophic failure of a seal resulting in trillions of cubic feet of natural gas escaping from a giant sub-surface reservoir.

          There are other natural geological processes such as mud volcanos but they don’t usually leave a vent like this one. Roger, what do you think.

          • Euan: These features are found only in and around the Yamal gas field, and some of them look as if they have been there for a long time (you can see this on Google Earth). I think that says it all.

          • Incidentally, the crater shown in the photo is a collapse feature, basically a sinkhole.

          • Syndroma says:

            Scientific consensus seems to be this crater is a result of pneumatic explosion of methane. And it can’t be old, otherwise it’d be just a lake. It was already half full of water last year.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Syndroma, its very late here. “Pneumatic explosion” would cause brecciation. These surfaces look polished, quite the opposite. There’s a good discussion to be had around this.

            A huge amount of energy was involved. Buoyancy of gas or gravity?


          • Euan Mearns says:

            And it can’t be old, otherwise it’d be just a lake. It was already half full of water last year.

            Maybe this involves limestone and a natural spill level?

          • Syndroma says:

            The report by the science team, in English:
            page 68

          • Syndroma, excellent report, thanks! Here are the main conclusions:

            (1) An exciting permafrost feature, a gasemission crater surrounded by a parapet no more than 30 m in diameter is observed;

            (2) As water accumulates at the bottom of the hole, the feature has no access to deeper layers and the assumption that deep-seated gas deposits caused the crater is implausible;

            (3) No traces of human activity in the vicinity of the crater were found, so this phenomenon is of a purely natural origin;

            (4) The date of the crater’s formation is estimated to have been in the late fall of 2013;

            (5) The high concentration of methane in the hole, which decreases in the vicinity of the hole and is
            negligible far from the hole, indicates the role of methane in the formation of the crater;

            (6) No high background radiation and no traces of extremely high temperatures, which would point to a gas explosion or an extraterrestrial object such as a meteorite were observed.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            @ Roger, if you look at the pics in Syndroma’s report you’ll see ejecta around the feature strongly suggesting it is eruptive. And if you look close at these features of GE you can see a “crater rim” around most of them. Walking across the land surface today I guess all you’d see is lots and lost of strange circular ponds.

          • Ted says:

            It’s a pingo. Look it up.

        • For anyone who want to know more about methane craters here:

    • Phil Chapman says:

      Willem: I have no doubt that urban heat islands, poorly placed instruments, etc., distort temperature records, but it is not true that human energy consumption contributes significantly to global warming, now or in the foreseeable future.

      According to the BP Review of World Energy (June, 2014), at , total world energy consumption in 2013 was 1.,27 E10 BOE. The calorific equivalent of 1 BOE is 42 gigajoules, so the energy consumption was 5.35 E20 joules.

      The average power consumed during 2013 was then 16,943 GW. The radiative forcing due to human energy consumption is this power divided by the surface area of the Earth (5.1 E14 sq m) – i.e., 0.033 W/sq m. Energy consumption was much less in 1750 ((i.e., in the pre-industrial era), so this number is a good estimate of the increase since that time.

      According to the IPCC, radiative forcing due to human activities has increased since 1750 by 2.29 W/sq m, mostly due to GHGs (see Figure SPM.5 in the IPCC AR5 Summary for Policy Makers, which Euan showed a few posts ago). Whatever the source of this increase (anthropogenic or natural), the contribution of human energy consumption seems to be negligible. It is even smaller than the IPCC alleged increase in Total Solar Irradiance since 1750 (0.05 W/sq m).

      BP says energy consumption is increasing by 2%/yr. If this continues to 2100, it will increase by a factor of 5.4, to 0.18 W/sq cm, still not very important.

      (A side note: If we want to send people interstellar at, say, 10% of c (so that the trip to Alpha Centauri would take about 45 yrs), and if the ship mass is 10 metric tons per person, we will need 9 E18 joules/person for acceleration and deceleration (assuming 100% efficiency). So the present world energy consumption is only enough to send about 60 people/year. Perhaps we will find a better approach, but if we have to do it the old-fashioned brute-force way, we will need a lot more energy for a reasonable interstellar exodus. Not to worry, though: all of this energy will be generated off Earth, so it will not affect the terrestrial climate.)

      • Willem Post says:


        Thank you for your comment.

        From this article

        Regarding energy intensity, we are dealing with small numbers. Below is that of corn-to-ethanol. Small changes in small numbers may be big percentages, which may have big consequences.


        Energy density is defined as watt per square meter, W/sq m. For calculation purposes, the following values are assumed: Corn yield: 150 bushels/acre/yr; Ethanol yield: 2.8 gallons/bushel, or 420 gallons/acre.

        NOTES: Corn yields have, on average, increased during the past 10 years, because of plants being altered by genetic modifications, etc. Ethanol yields have, on average, increased during the past 10 years, because of first-generation, processing phase improvements.

        Gross energy density = (150 bushel/acre/yr. x 2.8 gal/bushel) x (88 MJ, HHV/gallon)/(4047 m2/acre) = 9.13 MJ/m2/yr., or (9,130,000 J/yr.)/31,536,000 sec/yr.)/m2 = 0.290 (J/sec)/m2, or 0.290 W/m2.

        Net energy input = cropping + ethanol production…………..53,785 Btu/gallon
        Less DDGS by-product credit……………………………………….20,409 Btu/gallon
        Produce one gallon of ethanol……………………………………… 33,375 Btu/gallon. See page 9 of URL.

        Net energy density, wo/by-product credit = {(84,000 – 53,785)/84,000} x 0.290 = 0.104 W/m2
        Net energy density, w/by-product credit = {(84,000 – 33,375)/84,000} x 0.290 = 0.175 W/m2

        The actual net energy density is even less, because the energy inputs are greater, as shown below.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Phil, I’ve been wanting to access this sum for a while. If I understand what you are saying correctly:

        Forcing of temperature due to energy consumption = 0.033 W / sq m
        Forcing of temperature due to GHG = 2.29 W / sq m

        So temperature forcing from energy consumption is 2 orders of magnitude less than GHG forcing. However, let’s assume that all this energy is consumed in urban areas. Berkeley say that urban areas = 0.5% of land surface and land surface = 29.2% of total surface so urban surface = 0.146% of total Earth surface area. Hence the 0.033 W / sq m needs to be grossed up by 100/0.146 = 685 W / sq m at source.

        Now I know that not all energy is consumed in urban areas. And I realise that convection and atmospheric circulation will quickly dissipate this heat. But I’m left wondering if heat from energy consumption can really be discounted? Especially in areas with many large cities.

        And as side note. Renewable energy may be a means of capturing solar energy and converting it to urban heat 😉

    • Willem Post says:


      1) In bygone days, the Cross was paraded around. Convert to THE faith and you will be saved. The natives had no idea they needed to be saved, but would soon find out.

      At present, the hockey stick is paraded around. Convert to RE and the world will be saved, including your present and future loved ones.

      Powerful stuff.

      2) If the hockey stick effect is stronger in areas with more intensive land use, air use and water use changes, then CO2 is at least partially off the hook, as it is near uniform throughout the world.

      3) CO2 is on a rising trend, with annual cycles due to bio activity. During the LIA, there likely was less bio activity, so CO2 should have dipped by a little for a few hundred years.

      BTW, that lesser bio activity caused less tree growth, less wood in the wood economy, including for building ships.

      After Spain built its Armada and lost it, it could not build another one for lack of proper wood; junk wood does not qualify.

      Later, the Netherlands and France had a similar problem; the Netherlands eventually declined as a maritime power and France never became one, compared with the UK, which had access to wood in Scandinavia, the Baltic and later the US.

    • Willem Post says:


      You may be interested in this.

      During the 13-year period, start 2000 to end 2013:

      …………………………..Forest loss……………….Forest gain

      ………………………..million hectare…………..million hectare





      The world lost about 20 million hectares in tree cover PER YEAR for the past 10 years!!

      Here is some more food for thought.

  2. john Pitman says:

    you might find that this discussion shows a similar ‘ad hoc’ approach to ‘real original data’, as opposed to ‘nodelled data’ re ocean pH measurements.

  3. Syndroma says:

    I’d be interested to know if the predominance of agricultural land to the south reflects deforestation or was this previously natural grassland?

    It was natural grassland rich with chernozem.

    And the whole region south of Moscow and west of Volga is called Central Chernozem region.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Thanks Syndroma. I had the idea that this could perhaps be used to examine deforestation and so did a couple of plots based on latitude hoping to see a N-S split. There was a disappointingly small difference. And then I thought maybe the S was natural grassland which you have now confirmed.

      Is there any large area in Russia that has been substantially deforested during the 20th Century?

      Your comrades maintain excellent records 🙂

      • Syndroma says:

        There was a campaign to turn virgin grasslands into agricultural land, mostly in Kazakhstan.

        But it wasn’t deforestation. And in recent times there was even an event of reforestation. Some agricultural land fell into disuse after the SU collapse, especially in regions with unfavorable climate. Forest grows rapidly. Nowdays I walk in a young forest where a field used to be back when I was a kid.

        Your comrades maintain excellent records

        Of course. Soviet system had a fetish for maintaining records. And it’s mostly inherited. Public access to that records is another issue.

  4. Dave Rutledge says:

    Hi Euan,

    Great work. A couple of thoughts. Even in a Russian village, the thermometer may be close to district heating pipes. The other issue is that there have been rumors that during Soviet days, fuel allocations were based on the temperature, which encouraged low readings. I have never found a good reference for this, however.

    Both of these effects would bias the temperature trend in favor of warming.


  5. Euan: If you post a list of warming gradients for each station I will post an XY plot of warming against population. 🙂

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Roger, I did a few just to check ;-). Will send you my spread sheet if you want to fill in. You will run into a problem with discontinuous records in the rural sub-set, but the large towns and small cities may yield a handful of useful records.

      • Yes I would like to fill in. 🙂

      • Euan: Thanks for the spreadsheet. Results of a preliminary analysis below:

        I analyzed warming over the forty-year period 1950-1989. 28 of your 34 stations have complete records over this period and one (Vereb’E) is missing only three years, so I have 29 records to work with. The 1950-89 period also coincides with the Russian post-war industrial expansion, which is when we might expect to see urban warming impacts.

        Here’s the XY plot of the results (I measured warming from trend lines):

        The correlation coefficient is 0.11.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        I’ve done this a different way looking at only the long and most continuous records. I think this shows the importance of the long continuous records in defining the big picture (be it right or wrong). If the short and discontinuous records fit with the long continuous ones then you believe you are in good shape. But a short record, 1950-89, lacks resolution to define the trend.

        • Comparing the graphic below with my earlier graphic suggests that the urban warming in Russia, if that’s what it was, occurred before 1950:

          Go figure.

          But a short record, 1950-89, lacks resolution to define the trend.

          Sorry Euan, that just ain’t so. Forty years is quite long enough.

  6. Euan Mearns says:

    @ Sydroma, thanks for the link on Yamal.

    OK I got a couple of things wrong. First I was not aware that we actually have an ice sheet here about 300 m thick, evidently made of 90% ice. So the ice age never ended here. The fact this is mainly ice explains the polished surfaces and rapid formation of erosion features in what I accept is a recent feature (even though there seems to be trees growing on the ejecta).

    But the rest I’m afraid doesn’t make much sense. Amongst other things the authors appear to exclude an extra terrestrial impact based on absence of radiation. Since when have meteors been radioactive.

    You just need to look at the GE image of Yamal to see that the area is pock marked with thousands of these things of varying size and age. You really don’t need any more information than this.

    The authors in the introduction explain how the ice sheet prevents the escape to surface of thermal gas that is leaking out of the Bovanenko gas field that underlies much of the area. In effect you have a shallow gas field underlying the ice. And yet they either don’t mention this again or discount its relevance.

    They also seek to explain warming of the ground hundreds of meters down by one warm summer and winter. The winters here are probably similar to Antarctica 🙂

    My opinion remains that the feature is formed by the escape of a large amount of “deep” gas through a failure in the overlying ice. There should have been continuous laminar flow for some time to form the crater. Its possible that the gas was “warm” (not sure what the geothermal gradient looks like under the ice) and that would assist in the formation of a crater such as this.

    This appears to have happened thousands of times before on Yamal. Why should the most recent occurrence be due to global warming?

    • Syndroma says:

      First of all, you see the event through the prism of global warming. But global warming is not a hot issue in Russia, so the scientists most probably do not have an agenda. They were commissioned by the local governor to explain a strange new phenomenon. And their preliminary conclusion was that the temperature spike of 2012 triggered the event.

      Meteor impact was excluded due to absence of any burned material. Nothing at the scene suggested that temperatures exceeded background levels at any moment.
      The hole was slowly filling with mud and water, but no bubbling of gas was observed. That led them to believe that no deeper pockets of gas are directly involved.

      So, basically, the local governor and emergency services were interested if it is a one time localized event or not. And the science team’s conclusion was that no, it can happen anywere at Yamal.

  7. William says:

    When I plot the data for the 34 stations, the *first* thing that strikes me is the hockey stick shape. The shaft is flat and there is a rise at 1960 or so. This isn’t so evident on your graphs because you don’t show a clear x axis through the center of the data. And you have added upper and lower envelope lines that don’t seem to belong, being broken 10 times in fig 8 (you can’t fail to notice the empty area after 1990 in figure 8 for example).

    I plotted the whole period in one graph and the periods before/after 1960 in two other graphs:

    These graphs are computed using baseline averages for the whole period. Removing the six big cities had a negligible effect. There is a clear trend of 1.5 degrees over the last 50 years, not far off what BEST finds.

    • A C Osborn says:

      Can I suggest that you look at your 1960-2011 graph again?
      It does not have a “trend” of 1.5 degrees, it has a “step” function of about 0.75 degrees at around 1990, prior to that it looks like a slight downward trend fromn 1960.
      Try doing 2 trend lines.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Thanks for the charts William. The empty area past 1990 had caught my eye. In 1990 the number of stations fell from 28 to 12. I think this is the most likely cause of that data discontinuity.

      Good spot AC!

      So this combines William’s and AC’s observations. Stopping the regression in 1989 we get +0.4˚C for the rural records.

  8. manicbeancounter says:

    Thank you Euan for this extensive look at another region.
    One minor point. You have all along referred to what GISS call “raw GHCN data + USHCN corrections” as GHCNv2. There seem to be justified in this approach. During WW2 this region was involved in the bloodiest fighting of the war. I was surprised that the number of “raw records” only dropped by a third. An example. Kharkiv (or Kharkov) was intensely fought over between late 1941 and late 1943. Much of the city was destroyed. Yet there is no break in the temperature record.
    The same goes for Leningrad, now St Petersburg, and Kyiv, or Kiev, the Ukranian capital.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Kevin, I do refer to this in the post – highly surprising. And I also recognise and uncommon level of congruity between the groups of records. What do you think is going on? Did the temperature recorders go out and dodge sniper bullets or did they phone a friend behind the lines?


      • Syndroma says:

        I looked through the records of big cities on a front lines and noticed that 1942 is missing from a lot of them. Yes, Kharkov is an exception, have no idea why. But I guess if the meteostation was not under direct fire, it only takes one man to write down the temperature into a paper log.

        • manicbeancounter says:

          Syndroma. I think your hypothesis is most likely wrong, and like for Svarlbard the data is retropective infill. This from Wikipedia.

          The city was captured and recaptured by Nazi Germany on 24 October 1941; there was a disastrous Red Army offensive that failed to capture the city in May 1942; the city was successfully retaken by the Soviets on 16 February 1943, captured for a second time by the Germans on 15 March 1943 and then finally liberated on 23 August 1943. Seventy percent of the city was destroyed and tens of thousands of the inhabitants were killed.

          Maybe there was a hero of the Soviet Union who for months on end broke through enemy lines twice a day to take temperature readings, but I doubt it. If he had that ability, he would have been ordered to do something more conducive to winning the war.

          • Syndroma says:

            It doesn’t make sense to retrospectively infill data for one city only. Also, when there’s a fighting in a city, and occupation, a large part of civilian population still stays in it. Population of Kharkov in 1941 was 900 thousand, it dropped to 180 thousand by the time of the final liberation in 1943. Still plenty of people to make records.

          • JerryC says:

            Perhaps the Germans, with their fetish for record-keeping, just continued to mark down the temperatures while they were occupying the city.

  9. Dan Pangburn says:

    Existing data and rudimentary math prove that CO2 has no significant effect on climate.

    Existing data includes temperature and CO2 determined from Vostok, Antarctica ice cores for several glacial and inter-glacial periods.

    Temperature and CO2 (Berner, 2001) for the entire Phanerozoic eon (about 542 million years) are graphed at ).

    A forcing must act for a duration to produce a temperature change. For example, a burner under a block of iron will cause the temperature of the block of iron to increase as long as the net forcing is positive. The burner is a positive forcing while radiation and convection from the block provide a negative forcing. The temperature asymptotically approaches a new steady-state temperature as the positive and negative forcings approach cancelling each other. The temperature change of the block at any time equals a scale factor times the time-integral of the net forcing up to that time.

    Some have asserted atmospheric CO2 is a significant forcing. If the temperatures at the beginning and end of the duration are equal, and the time-integral of the forcing (or the time-integral with respect to an average forcing, or the time-integral with respect to a threshold forcing) is not zero, the scale factor must be zero. Periods of equal beginning and ending temperatures exist in the data records. If beginning and end temperatures are equal, but the time-integral of the CO2 level (or difference) is not zero, the scale factor must be zero and thus CO2 can have no significant effect on average global temperature.

    Climate sensitivity, (the increase in AGT due to doubling of CO2) is therefore not significantly different from zero.

    Additional proof showing that CO2 has no significant effect on climate and identification of the two factors that do are disclosed at

  10. Euan Mearns says:

    In Russia there was mass “station closures” post 1989 coincident with the fall of the Soviet Union. Someone mentioned in an earlier post that a drop like this may not necessarily signify station closure but rather GHCN dropping stations from the data base. Of the 12 stations that remained functional 5 were large cities, 6 were large towns and small cities (actually quite large cities) and one was rural (Vytegra). So the post-1989 record is heavily biased towards urban.

    The lower chart shows the 12 stations that remained operational beyond 1989.

  11. Luís says:

    Hi Euan. It would be interesting to see what an area based weighting method would produce from this dataset. Peering at the GE snaptshoots, it seems to me that rural stations have a much wider area of influence than urban stations.

    Just send me an e-mail if you are interested. Calculating these areas of interest should be fairly easy.


  12. Pingback: On the Origin of a Permafrost Vent on Yamal Peninsula, Russia | Energy Matters

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