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Turkey Earth Quake – 27. December 1939 – ~32’000 dead

1939 Erzincan earthquake struck on 27 December local time – magnitude of 7.8

Post: December 26, 2018

It seems time to ask science why the ignored a meteorological highly interesting weather conditions surrounding the 1939 Erzincan earthquake in December 1939. Due to Second World War Europe was in turmoil since 1st September 1939. Several highly extreme weather conditions had already occurred. During the closing days further ‘surprising’ weather conditions showed up the Barents Sea down to the Mediterranean, extreme low temperatures, extreme high air pressure, exceptional snow, culminating in a very destructive earthquake in Turkey on December 27th, 1939. It followed a rare tsunami in the Black Sea, with further weather implications, as summarized in a CHRONICAL (below). By the end of December 1939 to general weather condition in Europe including the entire  Erzincan earthquake offer a huge set of information on “how weather works” under extraordinary conditions, that one can only wonder why science has shown no interest in understanding and explaining the situation almost eight decades ago.

It follows an excerpt from Chapter “B.  Cooling of Europe”,
Section:  “141  Turkey Earth Quake – 27 December 1939 (2_51)”
from the Book: Climate Change & Naval War 

Link to the Chapter:

 “Once more a great disaster has visited a country, caused this time not by man’s inhumanity to man, but by a gigantic force of nature.” – “It is not likely that the new upheavals will teach the geologist anything new. They are evidence that nature has not yet finished with the earth.” – “What we urgently need is some method of predicting quakes and warning a threatened population.” (Extracts from the NYT Commentary on 29 December 1939).

Weather conditions before the earthquake

 First indications that Central Europe had been ‘conquered’ by an anti-cyclone weather system, preventing milder maritime air from flowing through the middle of the continent, were available in the first half of December 1939 itself.  Most significant deviation from the average weather became visible just a week before the earthquake struck. Between 21st and 22nd, temperatures dropped to below minus 30°C in Finland north of the Arctic Circle.

Around the same time (20th December), Northern Turkey had two high pressures of 1,040 mb attracting cold air from Siberia via the Caspian Sea. A low pressure (1,010 mb) shortly took control over Southern Turkey on 22nd, the high pressure returned again with two centres on 24th (ca. 1,040 mb), the pressure centre above 1,040 over the location of the epicentre on 25th, increasing to above 1,045 mb on 26th  (02 hours), which increased over Eastern Anatolia to ca 1,050 mb during the early morning and presumably remained high until the earth trembled violently. Cont.

What happened after the earthquake?

 All information on the Anatolia quake for readers interested in news was published by the NYT. The New York Times did a marvellous reporting job under the prevailing difficult conditions. While the NYT even became almost philosophical in its comments on December 29, about geology, the meteorological impact of the quake is highly interesting for practical purposes as well. Did the quake and its meteorological side effects contribute to the emergence of the extremely cold war winter of 1939/40 in North Europe?

At the Turkish Black Sea coast, about 150 km away from the epicentre, the quake generated a strong tsunami wave of up to a metre height that crossed the eastern part of the Sea in less than one hour. Cont.


6 December 1939; Severe earthquake, probably in Central America. (NYT, 6 December 1939).

22 December 1939; Early morning hours; a low pressure (965mb) over the Gulf of Bothina/ North Finland, and a high pressure over Western Rumania (1,035mb) control the weather in Northern and Central Europe[6].

22 December 1939; A very severe snowstorm brought shipping in the Black Sea and lower Danube river to a standstill on Thursday (21 December). At the coast the temperatures dropped to 15°C below zero. The storm in Bucharest caused considerable damage. (Hamburger Anzeiger, 23/24 December 1939). Snow also fell all over Bulgaria on December 21-22, starting a new cold weather episode (down to -16°C); on December 24th in Northern Bulgaria -20°C; December 25th until the earth quake in Turkey on 27th more moderate temperature below zero, showing no specific weather anomalies, (according to the Bulgarian newspaper ‘Zora’; by personal communication).

24-27 December; Baltic countries temperatures: In the Eastern parts of the Baltic countries (Russian West border) the temperatures fell to minus 17°C from 24th to 25th, and below 20°C one day later, extending to the Baltic coast, with minus 14°C in Klaipeda and minus 17°C in Gdynia (Bight) on 27th December 08-00 O’clock[7].

28 December 1939; 6,000 die in Turkey as quakes are felt around the world. Successive aftershocks take heavy toll of life and property in Anatolia regions. Los Angeles Area shaken. Central America is affected – London seismograph broken due to severity of tremors. (NYT, 28 December 1939). “Three additional tremors, subzero weather (minus 17°C) and blizzard winds, ..” – “Temperatures 22 degrees below zero (minus 30°C) and strong winds from the Black Sea claimed many victims…” (NYT, 29 December 1939).

 28 December 1939; Tremors registered in California (116 miles south of Berkeley) South Africa, Italy. (NYT 29 December 1939).

 28 December 1939; In New York record cold of 11.9° F; Four inches of snow reported in parts of State; Storms throughout the East. (NYT, 28 December 1939). (See above: NYT Dec.28,1939)

 28 December 1939; Pope to visit the Italian King Victor Emmanuel today, for the first time since 1870, (NYT, 28 December 1939), see next: “28 December 1939”.

 28 December 1939; Rome. “A cold dreary rain did nothing to dim the brilliance of the ceremony that began shortly before 10 o’clock.” – “ ….to see the Pope at all in such a weather.” (NYT, 29 December 1939).

 29 December 1939; “10,000 soldiers with shovels, had cut through mountainous drifts of snow” – “The continued cold – as low as 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit – seemed to be the greatest threat.” (NYT, 30 December 1939).

 29 December 1939; Temperatures in Turkey temporarily minus 30°C. Casualties in the Erzingan’s region about 42,000. (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 29 December 1939).

 29 December 1939; Ice closes Danube to German supplies; Rail traffic expected to be hampered by snow (NYT, 30 December 1939) “Cold winds have been blowing recently westwards from Russia, and the constantly low temperature in the river valley indicates a general freeze will set in soon.” (NYT, ditto).

 29 December 1939; From Agram in Yugoslavia minus temperatures of 32°C are reported.  (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 31 December 1939).

 30 December 1939; Turkey: New quakes add to toll in Turkey. Many more villages reported destroyed – Relief efforts hampered. Floods in West Anatolia. Erzingan’s casualties in quake at 42,000 – Allied and other Governments speed aid. (NYT, 31 December 1939).

 30 December 1939; “In Naples region today an unprecedented severe snow storm…”. Rome’s heaviest snowfall in recorded history – six inches – made the Romans feel as New Yorkers did in the 1888 blizzard. There had been nothing closer to this since the snowfall for three days from December 16 to 18, 1846”. (NYT, 31 December 1939) .

 30 December 1939; Cold wave over the Riviera. Genoa rapid fall of temperature, extensive snowstorm. Trieste reports heavy winter storms. Malians had –10°C. (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 31 December 1939).

 1 January 1940; “Turkish people suffered a third natural disaster today, following earthquake and floods, when terrific storms swept the Black Sea. Huge waves were dashing against Anatolian shores, and it was feared that many ships were floundered.” (NYT, 2 January 1940).

Read the entire invesigation at:

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Katowice on Climate Change – Adolf Hitler did it and the Conference ignores it!

How Naval War plunge Europe into Ice-Age condition after
mere four months in January 1940.

Post 12 December 2018

Several thousands of climate experts from around the world arrived for a conference on climate change, hoping to find a way the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change (adopted in December 2015). In Katowice, Poland, the Parties are aiming to finalize a detailed set of rules and guidelines – the so-called Paris ‘work programme’ or ‘rule book’ from 2-14 December – which will enable the landmark accord to be put into practice all around the world. Particular is the monetary aspect, namely the promise to raise $100 billion a year, from both public and private sources, by 2020 to help developing countries address climate change. The sum is mind-boggling, and the complete ignorance to simple historical events – for example the arctic winter in Europe 1919/40 – is shocking and dangerous.

The Second World War (WWII) was only 100 days old when weather in Europe started to run amok. It is easy to compile several dozen ‘unexpected and unusual’ events indicating that the weather started to leave common standards since December 1939. What happened as early as at Christmas Eve in Finland will be presented at the end of the post, as the climatic drama first culminated in January 1940, but continued well until mid-February, which is thoroughly discussed in numerous book chapter, online  HERE & HERE.

One of the climatic high-lights of the winter 1939/40 had been a number of all-time cold records at many location in the Baltic Sea region, for example in Hamburg, on 12. February 1940. Almost a month earlier Poland reached to all time low, which brings us back to the current gathering in Katowice. In 277km distance in NNE  and about  50km west of Warsaw is the village Siedlce. Already on the 11th of January 1940 the thermometer dropped to the incredible level of minus 41°C, respectively minus 41,8°Fahrenheit. At that time the Baltic Sea was still not covered with sea ice, which only happened in early March 1940, and for the first time in the 20th Century.  How that could happen so suddenly, after the year 1939 had been within the normal temperature range, actually there had been a lasting warming since 1918, and the late 1930s had been the highest ever recorded.

Under such circumstances it is highly ignorant and gross negligent to talk about climate change in Katowice, although human activities may have cause, or highly contributed to record cold temperatures in winter 1940. The ignorance is particularly annoying, as the mechanism which lead to the rampage of climate can be easily attributed to the warmonger Adolf Hitler, who started WWII and this inigiated that huge naval force crisscrossed the sea, and churned and turned the sea up-side-down by shelling, mining, torpedoing, and bombing. The immediate consequences are easily explained by a daily exercise:

Too warm water in the baby-tube in cooled down by churning the water with the hand around. The North and Baltic Sea are like the baby-tube, warned during the summer season. If forcefully churned in autumn and early winter, any stored heat diminishes quickly, opening the way for cold air in anti-cyclones (high-pressure) to move frm Siberia westwards up the shores of the North-Atlantic, denying low pressure cyclones to travel straight eastwards, directing them either to the Barents Sea or South to the Mediterranean Sea.   

 That happened evidently in winter 1939/40. And what is climatology doing? They ignore it, although it would turn the whole climate change debate in a complete different direction. Evidence would be on the table that man is able to a moderst winter scenario into a disaster within a few months. One mad-man as Adolf Hitler is enough to cause the coldest winter in Europe over more than a century. The Katowice climate summit is bringing together around 30 000 delegates from almost 200 countries, top state officials, representatives of business and NGOs among them, but without the competence and interest to answer a fairly simple question: What cause the sudden climatic change in winter 1939/40? Which atmospheric condition caused the all-time cold record in the village Siedlce on 11th January 1940 and several other locations? What caused the full ice-cover of the Baltic Sea after more than 40 years? What caused the extraordinary Christmas Story narrated by a reporter from the New York Times (extract), which goes at it follows:

December 24th 1939: Report by James Aldridge: “The cold numbs the brain in this Arctic hell, snow sweeps over the darkened wastes, the winds howl and the temperature is 30 degrees below zero (minus 34.4° C). Here the Russians and Finns are battling in blinding snowstorms for possession of ice-covered forests. …I reached the spot just after the battle ended. It was the most horrible sight I had ever seen. As if the men had been suddenly turned to wax, there were two or three thousand Russians and a few Finns, all frozen in fighting attitudes. Some were locked together, their bayonets within each other’s bodies; some were frozen in half-standing positions; some were crouching with their arms crooked, holding the hand grenades they were throwing; some were lying with their rifles shouldered, their legs apart….Their fear was registered on the frozen faces. Their bodies were like statues of men throwing all their muscles and strength into some work, but the faces recorded something between bewilderment and horror”.       

(NYT, December 25, 1939). Full article as jpg _ATTACHED to the left

more from NYT Dec.25, 1939:  HERE  & HERE  ; The drama in Finland at Christmas is discussed HERE

Merry Christmas

For 79 years a rich set of weather data is available. The war parties collected them abundantly. The proofed easily that the German Reichkanzeler could have trailed and convicted as the first climate-change criminal.  But climate science is not interested. They consume billions and billions in research a possible CO2 menace, ignoring the  realistic threat by human activities in the marine environment. Presumably the biggest disaster concerning anthropogenic climate change matters.

Happy New Year 2019

the 80th year after WWII commenced on 1st September 1939

By Dr. Arnd Bernaerts