Russia has been flaring up to 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year. If a cubic meter of natural gas contains 37 Megajoules of energy and Russia is burning 50,000,000,000/365/24/3600 = 1,585 cu m/sec this is equal to 58,600 MW – six times the size of the nameplate Texas wind farms, recognizing that flaring goes on 24-7 while the wind turbines are much more intermittent. So it seems the topic has more validity than I might have thought, but is there an effect? If one looks at the global temperature maps that are issued by the Goddard Institute for Space Science (GISS) there is a consistent trend in those, which indicates the much higher temperatures that are found in Northern Russia and Siberia. These high temperatures are a significant contributor to the overall analysis that the average global temperature has been rising for the past 40-odd years.
temperature anomalies for Feb 2012.
Being as I am a curious person, I looked at the temperature record that GISS reports for Khanty-Mansiysk, (K-M) which became a city some 40-years ago, with the growth of the oil industry in the neighboring Samotlor oil field. The city is found at 61 deg N 69 deg E, with an elevation of 190 ft. (According to Google Earth). GISS has the town named as Hanty-Mansijs and gives the temperature history as:
Figure 2. Temperatures for Khanty-Mansiysk as reported by GISS.
I will forego for now the adjustments that are made by GISS to the original data. In these regions this was recently covered by Paul Homewood at WUWT and I have written similarly on the adjustments that GISS consistently makes to individual state temperatures in those posts listed to the right hand side of this page. However this got me a little curious, given that the rise in temperature shown occurs in a region where there has been a considerable amount of gas flared, as I have commented earlier. The amount is in the range of 24 billion cubic meters a year in the region of Khanty-Mansiysk alone (half the Russian total), and I have used this illustration from the world bank of the thermal plumes that they generate.
Figure 3. Thermal plumes from gas flares in Siberia
In more recent times there are new fields being developed in Eastern Siberia and up in the Yamal, many of whom cannot as yet pipe their natural gas away. As a result it is still being flared, and I have become curious if we could correlate any of the increase in Siberian temperatures with the increase in Russian flaring of natural gas. So, in a way reminiscent of the work I did on US state temperatures, I have downloaded the data from GISS on the 32 stations that lie within a thousand kilometers of Kanty-Mansiysk to see what they show, Some stations have incomplete data, and so I don’t know what I will find as this post starts to look into the data set. First, just out of curiosity I took the average value for the stations over the years, and plotted it against time.
Figure 4. Overall average temperature for the GISS reported stations within a thousand km of Kanty-Mansiysk
Figure 5. The oil and gas fields of Western Siberia (after Grace – Russian Oil Supply)
Figure 7. Average post-1970 temperatures for KM as reported by GISS
Figure 8. Average station temperatures (blue over the full record, red post 1970) as a function of Longitude with K-M located at the blue line.
Figure 9. Average rate of temperature change as a function of longitude – post 1970 and with K-M marked at the blue line.
Figure 10. Average station temperatures (blue over the full record, red post 1970) as a function of Latitude with K-M located at the blue line.
Figure 11. Average rate of temperature change as a function of Latitude – post 1970 and with K-M marked at the blue line.