How extreme is the Russian heatwave?

August 20, 2010
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(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The devastating heatwave in Russia now seems to be over, but not before killing thousands, causing extensive wildfires, and destroying crops. But how severe was this heatwave, compared to past summers? Physicist and climate scientist Joe Wheatley looks at the record of temperature and rainfall in Russia over the last 60 years and places the last 3 months in context:

Russian heatwave

The last two months are clear outliers in both temperature and rainfall. Joe created this chart with the smoothScatter function in R. It's a function I haven't seen used very much, but it gives a nice representation of the envelope of climate extremes for this chart.

Biospherica: Extreme conditions in Russian croplands 

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