Wednesday, February 12, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sochi, swimming, climate, activism

I guess that many TRF readers are following the Olympic Games.

Anthony Watts wrote about the attempt by the climate activists to politicize the event. Even the whacko-in-chief of Bill McKibben has endorsed the petition to fight the climate change.

However, it was only supported by about 105 Olympic athletes, mostly Americans. About 96% of the Olympic athletes silently endorsed the opinion that the climate activists are obnoxious self-serving jerks and scammers.

It is really crazy if some athletes were expecting harsh winter conditions in Sochi.

Someone should have told them that Sochi is one of the most Southern Russian cities and its most famous summer resort. At least that's how it used to work in the communist era. As a schoolkid, I would hear about Sochi pretty often. Apparatchiks would enjoy many of their summers in Sochi. Stalin himself had the most favorite personal summer cottage in Sochi. I understand that the American and other readers may be unfamiliar with Sochi but Sochi, a Black Sea resort, was a kind of the Soviet answer to Florida and California. ;-)

It shouldn't be hard for someone to find the climate data for Sochi. The February temperatures are –12.6 °C (record low), +2.5 °C (average low), +6.0 °C (daily mean), +10.4 °C (average high), +23.8 °C (record high). So it's clearly not like Moscow. Russia is a pretty large country, you know, and not all of its towns have the same climate as Moscow (or Siberia)! ;-)

To compare, the warmest month in Sochi is July; the five temperatures defined above are +12.6 °C, +19.8 °C, +23.8 °C, +28.0 °C, +39.4 °C. Even CNN was able to figure out and "explain" that Sochi's climate is rather warm.

The Russians were surely thinking about the question whether a summer resort is a good venue for the Winter Olympics. Their conclusion was Yes and I think that they were right. If they're able to provide the place with enough good snow and ice, it's simply better to pick a place that has major advantages in the summer. My understanding is that Sochi has lost some of its tourist fame and vitality after the fall of communism. But the chances of other Russian places to become a tourist paradise are smaller still.

Well, I would conjecture that Russia is not terribly competitive in most of these activities – including tourism – mostly because the rouble is still overvalued. And I think it is overvalued because of Russia's relative wealth when it comes to natural resources, especially fossil fuels. The fossil fuels are responsible for a significant part of the Russian exports which implies that the balance only needs a small amount of other exports, and those may therefore be largely uncompetitive.

But I think it was sensible for Russia to invest $50 billion to the Sochi Olympics. If a town except for the capital has a chance not to become a ghost town after the event, it is Sochi. Russia is working hard to attract the wealthy Russians to the Black Sea resort. Sochi is the new Florida again, they are told.

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snail feedback (7) :

reader Uncle Al said...

Do not build a winter Olympic venue where 1) palm trees grow, 2) the water is yellow, 3) toilets won't flush toilet paper, 4) bathrooms have pinhole cameras, 5) all mobile devices are instantly hacked, 6) The police are largely occupied surveilling other police, 7) the host country specializes in ski-and-shoot border patrols, 8) nobody can engineer a quiet gas flame, 9) the number one head fella likes to prance around topless, and 10) two saints whacked Greek uncial script, added ligatures and consonants from the Glagolitic alphabet and Old Church Slavonic, and called it a written language. OTOH, Hangul was a wildly successful scholarly effort.

reader Liz said...

I do share the concerns that Uncle Al addressed along with several others. I think it is ridiculous that people are trying to take away from the love of winter sports with the concern of climate change. Even if 60-70% of global emissions were cut it would only stabilize the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere ( Yes we should work to stop so many emissions, but because current levels of CO2 will be physically stable for at least 1000 years I think it would be reasonable to drop the subject just for the Olympic Games. It sure does not feel like temperatures are rising to me! In the USA currently the temperatures are hitting record lows (

reader BMWA1 said...

Sorry about the loss to Sweden last night (the student pub was packed, and there does not seem to be any of the blatant Russia-bashing in the news here, nor of the other politically-oriented criticisms in CZ, maybe it is your propaganda resistance factor). One problem for Sochi though is the Caucausus 'Emirate' that has prayed for an earthquake to disrupt the 'pagan' Olympic games. Sochi was also nice spot to go after NKVD prison, like when General Rokossovsky was released in 1940 for a nice respite before Barbarossa.

reader David Nataf said...

I'm not sure how Tomas Kaberle made the olympic team. He's no longer a world-class player.

reader Luboš Motl said...

It's probably we don't have too many better ones.

When Nedved appeared on the list, some people thought that it was just a namesake or a joke, so they investigated. But yes, it is the 42-year-old Petr Nedved. ;-)

Kaberle would play in Kladno - which played with Jagr during an NHL pause a year ago. But now Kladno is, eufemistically speaking, in deep shit - 2nd from the bottom of the 14 extraleague teams. From a point of view, it is sort of bizarre to have players from this bottom in the national team.

Honestly, I stopped watching the match once Swedes scored the 4th goal LOL.

reader HenryBowman419 said...

I spent the first two weeks of a July some years ago in Sochi. When I read that the winter Olympics were to be held there, I marveled. The summer Olympics I could understand. Why anyone is surprised at he relatively warm temperatures is a mystery.

reader zlop said...

weather Soci 2010 to 2014