Abnormal hot and dry weather has hit Russian regions in the summer of 2010. Many Russians are suffering from the record-breaking heat and the worst drought in 40 years.
Muscovites wearing masks to breath clear air in smog-ridden Moscow
(yes I see the Russian hottie)
Image from Alexandr Solo via Flickr
Image from Evgeniya Zzubchenko via Flickr
Russians flee villages from fire caused in part by 2010 heat wave
Higher Food Prices: Why a Russian Heatwave Could Burn Your Budget
by Charles Wallace
08/05/2010/ 10:05 AM
Central Russia is having the hottest summer on record — this may not be of major interest in Chicago or L.A., which have their own heat problems to worry about. But we live in a globalized world, and Russia’s high temperatures, complete with raging wildfires, are going to send food prices higher for American consumers in the next few months.
According to reports out of Moscow, the Russian Farmers Union says the wheat crop will be down by an estimated 50% this year. That has sent wheat prices soaring from $5 to $7.25 a bushel on the commodity futures market Wednesday, a 45% jump.
Ephraim Leibtag, an economist with the U.S. Agriculture Department’s economic research service, says the “pass-through” rate of commodity prices is about 5% to 15% at the retail level.
With a 45% increase in wheat prices, Leibtag expects the cost of wheat-based products like bread, pasta, and flour to rise about 2% to 4% in grocery stores. Consumer goods like breakfast cereal probably won’t rise as fast because they contain sugar and ingredients other than wheat.
Paying More for a Caffeine Jolt
And it’s not just wheat prices that are going up, either.
J.M. Smucker (SJM), which distributes Folgers and such other coffee brands as Dunkin’ Donuts and Millstone, announced on Tuesday that it’s raising prices 9%, effective immediately. The company had already raised prices by 4% in May.
Wholesale coffee prices hit a 12-year high on Monday after a string of bad harvests in Colombia, the supplier of premium Arabica coffee.
And cocoa, the main ingredient in a host of chocolate confectionary items, hit a 33-year high of $3,092 a ton on July 30, following a sharp fall in production in Ivory Coast, West Africa, where plant diseases have caused the harvest to shrink by 15% in the last five years.
“A lot of the key commodities that go into food products and baked goods are trending upward right now,” says Christopher Shanahan, food industry analyst for San Antonio, Texas-based research firm Frost & Sullivan.
“When there’s uncertainty in the price of a commodity, processors and retailers will act on that and try to increase prices to either take advantage of the news or put a buffer on in case their material costs go up faster than expected,” Shanahan says.
One side effect of the wheat price rise is the possibility it will cause the price of other commodities, like corn and soybeans, to climb too. If that happens, prices for beef, pork and chicken will also probably go up because corn and soybeans are widely used in animal feed.
Corn, which averaged around $3.50 a bushel earlier this year, was trading at $4.15 a bushel on commodities markets Wednesday. Soybeans, which averaged $9.40 to $9.50, were trading at $10.28 a bushel Wednesday.
“If wheat supplies are down, then demand for the other commodities is going to go up,” Shanahan says. “Prices of all commodities are impacted by wheat.”
Shanahan says the stocks of retail grocery firms probably won’t be hit by the cost increases because they pass those hikes along to consumers. But he notes manufacturers could feel the pinch, especially if oil prices continue to rise beyond the $80 a barrel level. – Source
Russia Bans Grain Exports Amid Drought
Video: Wildfires and Drought Destroy 25% of Russian’s Grain Crops. Affecting Third World Countries
Deadly Russian heat wave gravest over millennium
Russia has recently seen the longest unprecedented heat wave for at least one thousand years, the head of the Russian Meteorological Center said on Monday.
Wildfires continue to rage across much of the central part of European Russia as the country experiences a heat wave, with temperatures of up to and above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
“We have an ‘archive’ of abnormal weather situations stretching over a thousand years. It is possible to say there was nothing similar to this on the territory of Russia during the last one thousand years in regard to the heat,” Alexander Frolov said.
He said scientists received information on ancient weather conditions by exploring lake deposits.
Frolov also said Russia’s grain crop may decrease by at least 30% compared to last year.
On Thursday, Russia imposed a ban on the export of grain and grain products that will last from August 15 to December 31, though First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said the ban may be changed after the harvest is calculated in October. – Source
Russia Heat Wave May Kill 15,000, Shave $15 Billion of GDP
8/10/2010/8:02 A.M. PT
by Lucian Kim and Maria Levitov
A man puts his head into a fountain as he tries to cool down near the Kremlin in Moscow.
Russia’s record heat wave may already have taken 15,000 lives and cost the economy $15 billion as fires and drought ravage the country.
At least 7,000 people have probably died in Moscow as a result of the heat, and the nationwide death toll is likely to be at least twice that figure, according to Jeff Masters, co- founder of Weather Underground, a 15-year-old Internet weather service that gathers information from around the world.
“The Russian population affected by extreme heat is at least double the population of Moscow, and the death toll in Russia from the 2010 heat wave is probably at least 15,000, and may be much higher,” Masters said late yesterday on his blog.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took to the air today to douse a forest fire south of Moscow. The heat wave may slice 1 percent off of Russia’s $1.5 trillion economy this year because of lower agricultural output and reduced activity in other areas such as industry, Alexander Morozov, chief economist at HSBC Holdings Plc in Moscow, said in an e-mail today.
Russia may harvest a third less grain than last year because of drought, Putin said yesterday. Companies such as automaker OAO AvtoVAZ have curbed production, and restaurants in Moscow are seeing a decline in customers as residents avoid smoke from wildfires that is blanketing the city.
Putin, 57, is leading government relief efforts, banning grain exports until the end of the year and traveling to the worst affected areas. State television showed him in the cockpit of a Be-200 firefighting plane today as it scooped up water from a river to extinguish two fires in the Ryazan region.
In the Moscow region, planes are unable to fight fires because of thick smoke. Aircraft are on stand-by for when the air clears, Rossiya-24 television reported. The capital broke another record today when the temperature reached 32.8 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit).
While the official death toll from fires in central Russia is 52, the heat and smoke in Moscow have almost doubled the city’s normal death rate to about 700 a day, Andrei Seltsovsky, head of the city’s public health department, said yesterday in a televised news conference.
Masters, who has a Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology, used those numbers to calculate a nationwide death toll. As many as 50,000 people died during a European heat wave seven years ago, he said. – More here with video
2010 Russian Heat Wave Causes Smog, Wildfires and Drought
by Maureen K. Fleury
Record-breaking temperatures that began in late June have been responsible for crop failure, hundreds of fires and poor air quality in Russia.
Many towns and villages in Central and Western Russia have been destroyed by wildfires propelled by dry vegetation and lack of manpower to fight the fires. The air quality has deteriorated to the point of a stagnant blanket of smog trapping harmful particulates.
Drought Conditions in Russia
In a BBC news report dated July 29, 2010, “A state of emergency has been declared in more than 20 drought-hit regions. It is estimated a fifth of the country’s wheat crop has now died due to the lack of rain in what is thought to be the country’s worst drought for more than a century.”
Officials are concerned that there will be no little or no wheat available for export this year.
Wildfires in Russia
In a report by The Guardian on August 2, 2010 it was noted,” The president, Dmitry Medvedev, declared a state of emergency in seven regions as firefighters struggled to contain about 600 blazes covering an estimated 309,000 acres (125,000 hectares). Strong winds added to the difficulty. Several villages in the Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh and Ryazan regions were reduced to drifts of ash.”
Forest fires and peat fires have also approached the areas that lie south and west of Moscow where there is a risk of the fires reactivating contaminated property caused by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The fires also pose a risk to military installations and to the nuclear research headquarters in Savov. As a precaution, all explosive and radioactive materials have been removed, in addition to the relocation of missiles and artillery.
Impact of the Heat Wave in Moscow
A thick blanket of smog has smothered Moscow and the air quality is extremely poor. The BBC also reported “pollution levels in parts of the city are 10 times higher than normal safety limits.”
Temperatures soared upwards of 97F (36C) and one day, the thermometers read 108F (42C). Forecasters predict that the heat wave will continue for at least another week.
According to a report by the PBS News Hour on August 9, 2010. “Heat stroke and complications from air quality have nearly doubled death rates in Moscow, from about 360 deaths a day to about 700, according to Moscow’s health department. Carbon monoxide levels are two to three times higher than the level considered healthy.”
Authorities have warned residents to stay home and to wear facemasks if going outdoors. The warning also suggested the limitation of physical activity. The visibility at Moscow’s airport was reduced to 1,200 feet (350 meters) and this caused the cancellation and delays of over 100 flights. In the Moscow region alone, over 50 fires have been reported.
PBS reported that 52 people have lost their lives in the fires since the heat wave started at the end of June. The Guardian stated that more than 2,000 people have died by drowning when cooling off in the lakes and rivers. Many of these deaths have been alcohol related.
Fires Rage on as Moscow Suffers ‘Hottest Day Ever’. BBC News, World-Europe. July 29, 2010.
Parfitt, Tom. Russian Wildfires Kill 34 in Heatwave. The Guardian, World News. August 2, 2010.
Miller, Talea. Heat Wave, Wildfires Pummel Russia. PBS News Hour. August 9, 2010. – Source
Fire battle continues as new wave of smoke expected in Moscow
Moscow is bracing itself for another uncomfortable cloud of smog. Experts warn that after a brief respite, a new wave of noxious smoke is likely to engulf the city.
While Muscovites are enjoying fresh air in the capital, a burst of new blazes is expected to come late Thursday and Friday. The new fires are expected to be less intense than other recent infernos.
Doctors predict a rise in respiratory diseases in the coming autumn and winter, as smoke and heat in the city have weakened peoples’ immune systems. – More here with downloadable video
We are facing global climate anomaly – meteorologist
Several weeks of sweltering heat which have gripped Central Russia have again stirred up the debate about global warming.
Meteorologist Vadim Zavodchenkov, from an independent weather information service, explains what has been behind the seasonal shift and predicts where it could lead the coming winter.
“There are several factors there,” Zavochenkov told RT. “First of all, of course, it’s down to nature. There’s also the human factor, as people’s influence on nature is rarely positive. But there also a more global factor that I want to mention. The earth as apart of the universe is affected by outer space.”
The scientist claimed solar activity and its variations are among the strongest impacts on Earth and said that now the sun is in one of the longest calm periods of its cycle for decades, which affects the air streams’ circulation. – More here with downloadable video
The Russian Heatwave had nothing to do with global warming as this article below shows:
More on the Russian heat wave – satellite analysis
by Steve Goddard
minor editing by Daniel Knight
Dr. Pielke’s excellent post gave me an idea. NASA said:
Not all parts of the Russian Federation experienced unusual warmth on July 20–27, 2010. A large expanse of northern central Russia, for instance, exhibits below-average temperatures. Areas of atypical warmth, however, predominate in the east and west. Orange- and red-tinged areas extend from eastern Siberia toward the southwest, but the most obvious area of unusual warmth occurs north and northwest of the Caspian Sea. These warm areas in eastern and western Russia continue a pattern noticeable earlier in July, and correspond to areas of intense drought and wildfire activity.
Looking at the NASA image, it is clear that more land is below normal temperatures than is above. So I generated the map below, which flattens all areas of above and below normal temperatures. – More here
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