Sure is Cold

Eastern Europe is currently enjoying its coldest weather since 1979. Temperatures in Moscow have been below minus 20 C (that’s minus 5 Fahrenheit for our American readers) for a week straight now, with regular visits to minus 30 (minus 22 Fahrenheit). In Bucharest, where we live, it’s currently minus 9 Celsius; that will drop to minus 14, or about plus 8 Fahrenheit, later tonight. To give some perspective on that, you should know that most of the houses in our neighborhood have arbors full of grape vines, and roses were blooming in our yard at the beginning of December.

It’s cold. Over 100 people have died in Russia. I’m in Pristina, Kosovo at the moment, and it’s right around minus 15 as the sun goes down. I won’t even convert that to Fahrenheit — it’s too depressing — but there’s a stiff wind blowing sinister little arcs of snow around the roads, and I’m really not in a hurry to go outside again.

The weather is coming from a cold air mass with sharply defined edges. Just a couple of hundred kilometers south and west of me, Tirana (Albania) is enjoying a balmy +3 Celsius. The cold air has been gradually creeping westward, so right now the edge seems to be somewhere in Germany; Prague and Berlin are getting whacked, but France is still pleasantly warm. It’s possible that the whole thing may dissipate without reaching further. In which case it won’t ever be much of a news story because, you know… Eastern Europe.

Ah, don’t mind me. Weather like this makes me paranoid. Because Mother Nature is trying to kill me…

Who else is sitting under that blue-white splotch on the map? Consider this an open thread for weather talk.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Life and tagged , by Douglas Muir. Bookmark the permalink.

About Douglas Muir

American with an Irish passport. Does development work for a big international donor. Has been living in Eastern Europe for the last six years -- first Serbia, then Romania, and now Armenia. Calls himself a Burkean conservative, which would be a liberal in Germany but an unhappy ex-Republican turned Democrat in the US. Husband of Claudia. Parent of Alan, David, Jacob and Leah. Likes birds. Writes Halfway Down The Danube. Writes Halfway Down The Danube.

19 thoughts on “Sure is Cold

  1. Well, there’s the pesky problem of increased glacier run-off decreasing the salinity of the North Atlantic. The net effect of this is to decrease the efficiency of the Gulf Stream, which is what keeps you Europeans unused to what we in the Midwest United States call, “Winter.” In other words, get used to it.

    I’m not kidding about that. The Gulf Sream is getting weaker.

  2. Tom,

    If your question is serious…:)
    “Global warming” means the average temperature on earth will rise. That doesn´t mean that the temperature will rise equally anywhere and anytime of the year. With the added probability that extreme weather situations (like hurricanes in the American gulf region or draughts in the Mediterranian region) will happen more often.

    Anyway, if meterologists in Germany are to be believed :), this weather situation (a “cold” high pressure zone coming in from Russia) is not that unusual. Happens every few years although temperatures that low (-20 degree Celsius in Eastern Germany) are experienced only every decade or two in Germany.

    And the edge is in Germany. I´m living in Western Germany and we don´t have such low temperatures.
    The real problem in the next few days will be the forecasted low pressure zone from the Atlantic coming into Germany. Bringing rain and snow (and somewhat “higher” temperatures). The weather forecasts are already warning about “Blitz-Eis” (“lightning ice”) on the roads. Rain falling on still frozen ground making the roads instantly dangerous.

    Probably still a minor problem compared to the situation in Eastern Europe. Just imagine being without heating in your appartment because of technical problems because of the low temperatures…
    (Just watched a TV news report. It mentioned that in Moscow a warm water pipe used for heating several thousands appartments had burst. Leaving all of them without heating.)

  3. These situations produce the only times I like living in my dear backwards Portugal. We’re freezing with 15ºc… =D

  4. If you go to the NOAA website, you will see that the increase in hurricanes and hurricane strength of the past year in not unusual either. The period from 1930s to 1940s saw both a greater number of huricannes and huricanne strength. Man-made global warming is a myth.

  5. Detlef,

    “Global warming” doesn’t even mean a global warming. Just a change in global weatherpatterns due to an increase in CO2 of the atmosphere.

  6. After the War, it wasn’t exactly clear where the Russian-Polish border should run. One day, while surveying the details, the boundary commission found that one farm in particular straddled the future border. So in a move that was unusual at the time, they asked the farmer, “Do you want to be in Poland or in Russia?”
    The farmer thought for a moment. “Poland.”
    “Why?”
    “Because I’ve heard those Russian winters are murder.”

    (For the record, here in not-usually-considered-Eastern-Europe Munich, it was -12C this morning.)

  7. Doug,

    The cold weather frong reached Sweden over the weekend, but things never got that bad.

    Here in Stockholm it’s a beautiful winter day – blue sky, good snow cover, just cold enough to keep it from getting sloshy and no wind. Can’t wait for weekend cross-country skiing.

    Get some warm shoes and a hat!

  8. which is what keeps you Europeans unused to what we in the Midwest United States call, “Winter”

    Connor, it wasn’t always like this. I remember from my childhood in the Benelux temperatures of -14°Celsius. And snow used to be common in winter. And the Dutch were still able to have their famous outdoor ice skating competition through eleven villages, “De Elfstedentocht”

    Here in Brittany people are still unused to real winters. Whenever there’s a hint of snow, cars start piling up on the roads. Things have been changing, though, that is for sure.

  9. Oskar, my hat is from Belarus, where it’s so cold that the actual temperature reading is a state secret. And despite my Louisiana upbringing, I do prefer arschkalt to dank and slushy.

  10. Charley,

    “”Global warming” doesn’t even mean a global warming. Just a change in global weatherpatterns due to an increase in CO2 of the atmosphere”
    This is incorrect. The global weather patterns are changing because of the Sun’s changing output, not CO2.

  11. To have 4 elfstedentochten in 40 years so it is not exactly often that they skate through 11 Frysians towns.

  12. The lower input of industrial dust is also a reason why there is now a higher average global temperature but if the newspapers talk about a future “global warming” than they almost always talk about it in respect to a higher CO2 level.

  13. “To have 4 elfstedentochten in 40 years so it is not exactly often”

    No, but 1985, 1986 and 1997 were during my lifetime 🙂

  14. “…what we in the Midwest United States call, “Winter.”

    Be thankful, Connor – the weather gods meant well with you. You have a very short winter, no winter darkness, practically no prolonged cold, and even the pesky snow is gone in a few weeks.

    That truly is something to be thankful for.

  15. I feel so bad now. I have really been complaining about our nights here in Southern California. Somewhere at 55F. This morning I saw some Chinese Cherry Trees in full bloom. So spring is around the corner. That should warm your cockles a bit, eh?

  16. I’m reading this to get some relief from the heat. Sticky, curdled air, the dog slumped comatose, firefighters in the far west of Victoria relieved because of some sticky rain, heat off the masonry as a sticky wind pushes a few clouds about.

    Even the wine I am scarfing seems sticky.

    Down here it is a lot easier to think that global warming is just that. “Down here” as in “our half of planet earth”.

    You people who continue to be greenhouse denialists are using your superior intellects and research powers to deny the conclusions of almost all the world’s climate scientists. You generally explain this contrarian attitude by saying that establishments always attack fresh, true ideas.

    Some of you compare yourselves to Galileo. There is some truth in the theory that the scientific consensus, cemented in place by generations of practice interconnected with religion and the State, does test new ideas very thoroughly. It took a long time for Darwin to prevail in most circles.

    But the climate scientists are the exact reverse. This whole theory only happened in the last thirty years, has only really been fully accepted in the last fifteen.

    What could possibly have swept the old climate establishment so thoroughly that nearly everyone was converted in a few years?

    Some say it was a vast cultural virus of cupidity, as scientists decided they could get status and funding by pushing this new set of ideas.

    Let’s imagine the scene. President and Chief Scientist.

    Pres: what have you got for me today, chief scientist?
    CS: we have a theory that the western economy is done for, most of our industry has to be radically changed, all the major companies who pour money into your party will be under terrible pressure to adapt, and public transport will take over from the private car.
    Pres: Wow, that sounds good. We’ll give you billions to research that one…

    Notice something about plausibility here? What other theory could you advance?

    Oh yes, that’s right. They assembled a lot of data and realised the truth.

    That would do it.

  17. Well, it’s warm here in the northeast US, and cold in Europe. Plus we’ve had hurricanes in December. It sure sounds like a heat conveyor belt has been slowed down.

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Sure is cold

Eastern Europe is currently enjoying its coldest weather since 1979. Temperatures in Moscow have been below minus 20 C (that’s minus 5 Fahrenheit for our American readers) for a week straight now, with regular visits to minus 30 (minus 22 Fahrenheit). In Bucharest, where we live, it’s currently minus 9 Celsius; that will drop to minus 14, or about plus 8 Fahrenheit, later tonight. (To give some perspective on that, you should know that most of the houses in our neighborhood have arbors full of grape vines, and roses were blooming in our yard at the beginning of December.)

It’s cold. Over 100 people have died in Russia. I’m in Pristina, Kosovo at the moment, and it’s right around minus 15 as the sun goes down. I won’t even convert that to Fahrenheit — it’s too depressing — but there’s a stiff wind blowing sinister little arcs of snow around the roads, and I’m really not in a hurry to go outside again.

The cold is coming from a cold air mass with sharply defined edges. Just a couple of hundred kilometers south and west of me, Tirana, Albania is enjoying a balmy +3 Celsius. It’s been gradually creeping westward, so right now the edge seems to be somewhere in Germany; Prague and Berlin are getting whacked, but France is still pleasantly warm. It’s possible that the whole thing may dissipate without reaching further. In which case it won’t ever be much of a news story because, you know… Eastern Europe.

Ah, don’t mind me. Weather like this makes me paranoid. Because Mother Nature is trying to kill me…

Who else is sitting under that blue-white splotch on the map? Consider this an open thread for weather talk.

2 thoughts on “Sure is cold

  1. I’ll bite! Holy cats, is it bitter! It doesn’t help that our apartment seems to be at the coldest spot in the valley, either. (We’re in the Ennstal, Austria) Last night we walked to our destination – ah, such foolishness! – and by the time we arrived, my face was immobilized.

    Husband swanned in this morning around 9am reporting a balmy -24.6C, that’s right, MINUS 24.6C. Ouch. This is round two of this, also. We had a brief respite towards the end of last week, we were wandering around with our coats unzipped in -2. That’s just SAD.

  2. I’m spending my first winter in Germany and it’s nice to know this isn’t typical…if it’s going to be this cold at least those clouds could cough up a few snowflakes for me.

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