Eastern Kazahkstan - Lake Balhash

Two grid boxes here touch corner to corner and the NE area has only one station, the town of Balkhash (population 80,000), on its western boundary.   The SW grid box has two cities, Fergana (pop. 176,000) and Frunze (pop. 500,000).   Just to the west and east are the large cities of Tashkent (1.8 million) and Alma Ata (circa 1 million).

Figure 14          Grid boxes 42.5 N-72.5 E  &  47.5 N-77.5 E


Figure 15 shows that Balkhash only has data from 1935.  Unusually in this study, the Jones 1994 trend is near neutral while the GHCN and GISS trends warm at about 2 degrees over the 54 years.  Missing data for Jones from 1945-50 may contribute to the trend difference.

Now the Karl 1998 map is based on the Jones data.  And the Jones data shows a neutral trend for Balkhash.  And Balkhash is the only station in this grid box.  So where is the ~ 2 degrees warming shown in the map for this grid box coming from?

Figure 15

Moving on to Figure 16,  there are two towns.  Frunze, at the bottom of the chart, warms by about 1.5 degrees 1925-1989 in GHCN and GISS, but only circa 1 degree in Jones 1994.  Fergana has a neutral trend from 1901-1990 in GHCN and GISS, which both include data from the early 1900's.   Jones 1994 finds about 1.6 degrees of warming in a shorter Fergana, covering  ~1925-89.  The chart also shows a major discrepancy between Jones and the other sources for Fergana after ~1950.

Figure  16

To cross-check alleged warming in this region, Figure 17 looks at the two large cities in neighbouring boxes and also at Turkestan, a smaller town of 67,000 north of Tashkent all  with substantial data over the 95 years.  None show 2 degrees warming, even assisted by urban heating effects.  Tashkent in Jones 1994 warms at only ~1.3 degrees over the 95 years,  Alma Ata a little less, and Turkestan cools by ~ 0.4 degrees.

Figure  17

Summary Lake Balhash Grid Boxes

Weighing up the evidence from the three charts it appears that claims of 2 degree warming in these grid boxes could not be soundly based.  Jones 1994 finds very little warming in Balkhash and two large cities with more complete records nearby are warming at circa 1.5 degrees even with the assistance of urbanisation.  The small cities of Turkestan and Fergana cool and have a neutral trend respectively.  On the basis of trends in Turkestan and Fergana, if a long term rural station were available, it might well have very little trend.  The only evidence for strong warming here is from relatively short data runs in urban locations.

You read it first here
© Warwick Hughes, 2000 - 2001

Warwick S. Hughes, 22, July, 2000. Re-written 24, June, 2001

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