Link Eyed Between 1908 Siberian Fireball and Record Heat in New York

Speaking of meteors and their local impact, as we were on Friday, the Siberian fireball brought the mind of Stephen Fybish, City Room’s Omniscient Weather Nudge, back to the Tunguska Event, a cosmic burp inflicted on Siberia in 1908 when the airburst of a still-unidentified object believed to be a meteor or a comet fragment flattened tens of millions of trees across 800 square miles.

Normally, Mr. Fybish limits his encyclopedic observations of meteorological data to New York City, at least here on this blog, so what’s the connection?


It turns out that the Tunguska Event, which occurred on June 30, was immediately followed by one of the hottest Julys ever in Central Park. How hot was it? Let’s go to the voice mail left by Mr. Fybish:

“The average minimum temperature in the month of July 1908 at the park was the highest ever and still is the highest ever; in other words a lot of unusually warm nights, averaging 73.8 degrees, including a minimum of 84 on July 7th of 1908, which is still as high as any warm night since, in our global warming and heat island days of recent decades.”

Even more curious, Mr. Fybish has discovered, July 1908 set a 52-year record for highest average barometric pressure in Albany, Nashville, Denver, Omaha and Marquette, Mich., among other cities.

Although one Russian scientist has postulated that the Tunguska Event was the sole factor responsible for global warming, causal links between the explosion in Siberia and the sultry spell in New York are not clear.

But next time you’re tossing and turning on a disgustingly hot summer night in this town, be thankful that the Tunguska Event comes but once in a very long time.

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