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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Record warmth in Siberia and Brazil and cold in U.S. Upper Midwest

by Christopher C. Burt, weather historian, wunderground, February 12, 2014

In contrast to the continuing near-record cold temperatures in the U.S. Upper Midwest, record warmth has been occurring in portions of Siberia and Brazil. Here are the details.

Record cold continues in upper Midwest

Duluth, Minnesota, finally snapped its record longest stretch of 0 °F (-17.8 °C) or below days today (February 12th) when the temperature this morning fell to ‘only’ 10 °F (-12.2 °C). For 23 days, from January 19th to February 11th, the minimum temperature fell to zero or below. This surpassed the previous record of 22 days set in 1936 (January 17-February 7) and also in 1963 (January 10th to January 31st). Lake Superior is now 87.1% iced over, its greatest extent since the winter of 1996, and it is closing in on the record 94.7% during the winter of 1979.

Lake Superior ice thickness and concentration as of February 12th. Only a few small portions of the lake remain clear of ice cover. Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, NOAA.

Chicago fell below zero again Wednesday morning (January 12th) making this the 22nd zero-or-below day this winter tying 4th place (with the winter of 1981-1982) for the most such on record. Here’s where the ranking stands now:

Table provided by NWS-Chicago.

Meanwhile on the other side of the North Pole in Siberia…

All-time-record monthly warm temperatures have been observed at many sites in the Siberian states of Yakutia and Kamchatka. In what is normally the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth, Oymyakon (various spellings) saw its temperature rise to a February record high of -12.5 °C (9.5 °F) on February 9th. The normal high temperature at this time of the year should be around -48 °C (-55 °F). Oymyakon also holds the world record (along with Verkhoyansk) for the coldest temperature ever measured on earth at an inhabited site: -67.7 °C (-90 °F) set on February 6, 1933 (almost exactly 80 years ago).

Other all-time monthly records have been set at:

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski: 5.3 °C (41.5 °F) on Feb. 3; previous record 5.0 °C (41.0 °F) on Feb. 19, 1986

Pevek: 5.6 °C (42.1 °F) on Feb. 8; previous record 1.4 °C (34.5 °F) on Feb. 28, 2008

Magadan: 3.2 °C (37.8 °F) on Feb. 8; old record 2.5 °C (36.5 °F) in February 1968

Omolon: 2.9 °C (37.2 °F) on Feb. 7; old record -0.6 °C (30.9 °F) on Feb. 1, 1985. This is the first time this site has ever risen above freezing during the month of February.

Okhotsk: 2.0 °C (35.6 °F) on Feb. 7; old record 1.9 °C (35.4 °F) in February 1985

Keyes: 3.7 °C (38.7 °F) on Feb. 6; old record 3.0 °C (37.4 °F) on Feb. 28, 1982

A map of the maximum temperatures observed (°C) during the period of February 7-10 in northeastern Siberia and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Daily maximum temperatures at this time of the year in these regions should range between -20 °C (-4 °F) to -48 °C (-55 °F). Map courtesy of Michael Theusner at Klimahaus, Bremerhaven, Germany.

Record heat wave and drought in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The official weather station for Sao Paulo (Brazil’s largest city) Mirante do Santana has recorded its warmest January on record with a daily average maximum of 31.9 °C (89.4 °F) surpassing February 1984, the previous warmest month on record. Since January the temperatures in Sao Paulo have shot up even higher. Here are the daily highs observed so far:

Feb. 1:  35.9 °C (96.6 °F)
Feb. 2:  34.5 °C (94.1 °F)
Feb. 3:  35.0 °C (95.0 °F)
Feb. 4:  34.7 °C (94.5 °F)
Feb. 5:  35.5 °C (95.9 °F)
Feb. 6:  35.2 °C (95.4 °F)
Feb. 7:  36.4 °C (97.5 °F) (this is just shy of the all-time record of 37.0 °C (98.6 °F) set in January 1999)
Feb. 8:  36.3 °C (97.3 °F)
Feb. 9:  36.1 °C (97.0 °F)
Feb. 10:  34.7 °C (94.5 °F)
Feb. 11:  33.3 °C (91.9 °F)

The normal daily high temperature for both January and February is about 28 °C (82 °F).

Even hotter temperatures prevailed in other locations in southern Brazil such as the 41.2 °C (106.2 °F) at Indaial this past week. Unofficial temperatures as high as 42-43 °C (107.6-109.4 °F) have been reported from locations in Rio Grande do Sul and Catarina States. Brazil’s hottest temperature on record remains 44.6 °C (112.3 °F) at Orleans, Santa Catarina State, on January 6, 1963. Sao Paulo’s main reservoir is apparently now less than 25% of its capacity, a 10-year low.

Cooler weather and some rainfall is now on the horizon and expected to bring some relief to both the heat and drought.

KUDOS: Maximiliano Hererra and Michael Theusner for information about Siberian heat records and Loepa for Brazilian data.

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