The media have been talking of the summer of 2010, which is set to become the hottest in the history of meteorological observations. They refer to the forecasts made by the National American Space Association (NASA), whose scholars believe that the changes are caused by deviations in the warm Pacific currents, which strengthen the phenomenon known as El Nino.
Some believe that it is this very El Nino that causes a disruption of conventional climatic balance in a number of the world’s regions, resulting in natural disasters such as floods. Besides, according to scientists’ reckoning, this year the Pacific is emitting much more heat than usual, warming up the lower strata of the atmosphere.
“Over the past 12 months, the average daily temperature of Earth’s atmosphere was the highest in the previous 130 years. January through April, 2010, the temperature was almost equal to absolute record figures. Mathematical models show that the temperature will rise in the following couple of months, and people in the Northern hemisphere will experience the hottest summer in the entire history of modern meteorological observations,” said Professor James Hansen, research coordinator, according to the French radio station Europe-1.
However, domestic meteorologists from the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Research Institute, also excellent specialists, do not agree with the assumptions made by the Americans. The researchers say that this year’s summer will remain “within normal limits,” i.e., the average temperatures of 32-30 Co during The Day, albeit with frequent rain.
“As to the credibility of the information concerning high temperatures, we failed to find enough evidence to confirm it. We have no forecast for any exceptional heatwaves in Eastern Europe. According to our forecasts, June is going to remain within normal limits. What we are observing at the moment is also within the norms.
“Meanwhile, there can be heavy rainfall. I do not know about the end of the summer, but I can say that according to the data provided by the American researchers, our colleagues in recent years, the first half of the summer is going to remain within limits. Temperatures may even be a little lower. In the east of Ukraine they will be a bit higher, in the west, a bit lower. And there might be flash floods in Western Ukraine – these phenomena might persist,” said Vladyslav Tymofieiev, a researcher from the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, in an interview for The Day.
According to Tymofieiev, the temperatures we currently see in Ukraine are absolutely normal, the more so that the average temperatures of the first half of May were somewhat higher than the norm. However, rainfall has become more frequent.
“Heavy rainfall is something we experience every year. It is due to the difference between the temperatures of the warm lower stratum of the atmosphere and the cold upper stratum. Their interaction results in heavy thunderstorms and showers. Yet this is a norm for any average spring, so there has been nothing unusual so far,” says Tymofieiev.
As for the forecast for June, the official report also mentions rainfall. It will remain within the norm throughout Ukraine, and be a little higher in the west. There also are forecasts of relatively heavy showers and thunderstorms in the Lviv and Transcarpathian oblasts.
What we have already witnessed in western Ukraine – the heavy rains and hailstorms – is qualified by meteorologists as the “new norm.” They remind us that such natural calamities have already become a rule rather than an exception for us. The reason for this lies in the new patterns of atmospheric circulation mentioned by Tymofieiev.
This is the forecast just for the first half of summer, roughly till late July, as the expert of the Institute uses the method developed by Vazira Martazynova, Ph.D., professor of Physics and Mathematics, director of the department for climatic research and long-term weather forecast of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Research Institute. The method allows making forecasts for a month or so. The scholar also believes that over recent years the change of seasons has gotten slightly “irregular.” In particular, summers have become shorter because they tend to begin later and finish earlier.
“Our summer has become one month shorter. Spring is now very, very long, lasting well into the middle of June, and the summer begins in mid-June. It is short now, from June 15 to August 15. August 16 is the first day of autumn. Overall, the best conditions for holidays are from June 15 to July 15. These days are going to be hotter and drier this year,” forecasts Martazynova.
By the way, there is good news for those who want to have a rest in, or take a trip to, Europe. Some experts say that due to the volcanic cloud from Iceland, this summer would be chillier for European countries, and not only for them. The weather forecasts are reassuring: if air circulation remains stable, without the characteristic motion, the volcanic dust would amass in one area, and one might expect trouble there. However, this is not likely: due to the large-scale atmospheric circulation, the dust will be dispersed.
Scholars emphasize yet another tendency peculiar to the present-day climate, which we have to get used to soon. Russian and European scholars believe that we are in for some cold snap, rather than warming, in the next years. Our Russian colleagues maintain that the cold snap began in 1998, and will reach its maximum in 2025. The European scholars say that in the nearest 10 years air temperature will not rise anymore. Instead, a period of severe winters will follow, which may last about 40 years.
“The cycle of migration of the wide-scale atmospheric circulation lasts 60 years: first to the east (60 years), then to the west, the same length of time. The circulation swings like a pendulum. There can be such a period when it goes far west, and this is a period of extreme cold. Now we are switching to this circulation, to the phenomenon which existed in the mid-20th century. You must have noticed the cold winters, which we hadn’t had for 10 years,” summarized Martazynova.
We will soon see what lies ahead, a warming or a cold snap, but weather surprises are sure to continue. What we have to do is to learn to adapt to them quickly.