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Monday, February 19, 2018

The death toll from the Russian heat doubt

Abnormal heat in Russia in summer 2010, included in the list of the deadliest natural disasters from 1996 to 2015. According to UN estimates, it was the cause of death 55 736. However, there is reason to doubt these figures.

The difficulty in assessing the numbers

Six years ago, the anomalously high air temperature on the territory of the European part of Russia was observed for most of the summer – from late June to late August. And the consequences – over the next few years. Very warm weather has led to mass occurrence of forest fires, in big cities and shallowing of rivers.

“The true number of victims of the summer anomalies in 2010 are still difficult to assess”

At the same time, the number of victims of abnormal weather, according to scientists, it is difficult to evaluate. According to a leading researcher of the Institute of physics of the atmosphere and ran them. Obukhov and head of the climate laboratory at the Institute of geography RAS Vladimir Semyonov, these numbers vary depending on sources.

“For Russia it was really very meaningful. Hot weather was the cause of increased mortality, particularly from cardiovascular disease. Plus the fires and drought. All are complex phenomena and they are accompanied by pollution of the atmosphere, because usually the heat is high. The problem is that in large Metropolitan areas, where the formation of pollution, the air is concentrated in one place and not in other regions, which exacerbates the situation”, – said the expert newspaper VIEW.

“Speaking about specific numbers, I once heard about an increase in mortality of 35 thousand people. But it is difficult to understand, had a heart attack from bad news or from the heat,” – said Semyonov.

Head of the Department of studies of climate change the State hydrological Institute, doctor of geographical Sciences Oleg Anisimov also did not attach great importance to the figure published by the United Nations. Climatologist expressed doubt that the dead so much. According to RIA “Novosti” in Moscow during the smog standing over a city of more months of life left about 700 people per day instead of 360-380 in normal times. The fact is that while only the concentration of carbon monoxide in the capital was exceeded several times.

“How many died actually because of the heat is unknown. One of my colleagues was able to calculate the figures in Moscow. The number of deaths during the abnormally heat here was about 15 thousand people. But that statistics of one city. At the time I was in St. Petersburg, there was 30 degrees of heat. The city is surrounded by water and it has high humidity. There in comparison with Moscow, some extreme weather deviations was not”, – said Anisimov newspaper VIEW.

Reduction in time between anomalies

According to Vladimir Semenov, a direct fault of the person in anomalous weather 2010 no.

“This is definitely a natural phenomenon. Still not clear how it is related to global warming or it is considered as one of the accidents, which for 500 years in Russia is not met.Such events, as history shows, visit us about once in 30-40 years. The same drought of 1972 comparable to the level of 2010, although 40 years ago the temperature was naturally lower,” – said the researcher.

However, Semenov said that the cycle time between “anomalies”, judging by the trends of global warming had declined, in fact, several times and now it may be 10 years. But this does not mean that the recurrence of abnormal heat or cold is worth the wait every year. Currently increasing the likelihood of atmospheric stationary waves, which are accompanied by stationary weather periods. That is, in the same area, relatively speaking, a month is hot, and after 3-5 thousand miles pour torrential rains. It is influenced by the atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic, the greenhouse effect and global Oceanography atmospheric phenomenon El niño.

Actually, this happened in the summer of 2010. Partly, the situation repeated itself this year. According to Oleg Anisimov, if in Moscow it was a hot summer in St. Petersburg did not have it all.

“We have in July, even the mushrooms have appeared, though it was hard to imagine because the soil at this time is usually dry. Constantly pouring rain, the bathing season lasted only a week, as in Yakutia, and the temperature was 18-22 degrees Celsius. It’s not the Arctic, Petersburg. People don’t understand what it is. But it’s the same type of phenomenon as in 2010,” stated climatologist. He explained that climate change really seriously.

On the question of the recurrence of heat waves like the one that was in 2010, both specialists said that the probability of its occurrence is high. As for Central Russia is characterized by the formation of a “blocking” anticyclones.

“If you look at the temperature in Moscow, early in the most hot weather it the average was 26 degrees at different months of summer, now is 28-29 degrees Celsius. It’s the kind of event that has feedback. If the soil dries, it maintains the anticyclonic circulation like heated pans”, – explained Vladimir Semenov.

Now the problem is not in heat

His colleague Oleg Anisimov says that the main problem now is not in heat, and floods and to reduce the space of “permafrost” in Russia. The first element leads to damage to human settlements, like the cities of Krymsk and the Far East, and glaciers may begin to melt in areas where oil and gas pipelines. And not the fact that it will have a positive impact on the environment.

“The heat we experienced. It is now the case in hydrology. In river valleys there is a danger of mudflows, why are people afraid of there to farm. In some regions, will soon become the question is what to do with the space reduction “permafrost”, and how it can affect nature. All this is a must to work out and to explain to local authorities that they were interested in solving upcoming problems,” – concluded the expert.

Note, in the report prepared by the UN Office for disaster risk reduction and the Belgian Centre for research and epidemiology of disasters, heat waves in Russia took the 6th place in lethality, behind earthquakes in China (more 87476 dead) and Pakistan (73338 dead), the Typhoon in Myanmar (138366 dead) tsunami in Indonesia (165708 victims, together with the people of Sri Lanka and India – about 220 thousand) and the earthquake in Haiti (222570 dead).

The palm in the number of victims keep earthquakes from 1996 to 2015 in the world died 748621 people, in the second place hurricanes and storms with 239125 dead. Sad closes the top three “extreme temperatures” – 165829 deceased. Only a natural disaster caused the death of 1 346 196 people over the period.


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