September 1939 
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Sea Ice Condition 
Baltic Sea WWII

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  by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts

Record cold in Poland !
Minus 41C on 11th Jan.1940 in Siedlce!
And man has nothing to do with it?

Posted: 07 January 2013
by Arnd Bernaerts
1st Update (07. Jan. 22h)
2nd Update 10th January 2013

  On 11th Januar 1940 temperture dropped to −41.0 C (−41.8 F) in  Siedlce/Polen (52 10' N, 2216,2' O) about 100 km east of Warsow. It is the alltime low for Poland . HERE and HERE

 Since the 1st of January a cold corridor with less than -10C streched from West-Germany eastwards. On January 11, 1940 the tempertur minimum had been -18.3 and in Berlin -22C. (Source: WZ: Wetterwerte).


Of course, the cold record in Poland is a whim of heaven, and man has nothing to do with it! Or?



Analysis of the winter 1939/40
___ „A Large-Scale Experiment with Climate – The Extreme Winter of 1939/40 and Climate Research –“, PDF, 14 pages; HERE


January 1940, Temperature Map 4, Seite 31 
at:; Chapter C1

  Click for enhancement


Potsdam/Germany - Winter 1939/40 at:

Graphic: /




1st Update (07. Jan. 22h)
Graphics with enhancement

 A comparison between the Baltic sea ice conditions on January 11, 1940 and today (07/Jan/2013) may shed some light on the exceptional situation 73 years ago. While sea ice started extreme early in the German Bight (on 16/17 December 1939 - Details HERE -Chapter 7, sec.h), and Denmark followed few days later (Fig. 4), the Baltic Proper remained quite open well to the end of January (Fig.5).   




Fig. 4, Sea ice around Denmark on 15 January 1940

Fig.5, Baltic sea ice cover  on 26. January 1940


 The situation today (07 January 2013) is shown in Fig. 6 and 7 (for December 2012 see: HERE). Fig. 8 gives a temperature forecast for two weeks until 23rd January. It is interesting to note, that the land areas around the Baltic have to expect much lower temperature than the sea area.  

Fig. 6, Ice cover on 07. Jan.12

Fig. 7; Average ice on 11.Jan.

Fig. 8, TC forecast 7-23.Jan.13

2nd Update 10th January 2013

A comparison between the situation by mid Jan.1939 and mid Jan. 2013, the next block shows a number of temperatures 73 years ago, followed by information concerning today (10. Jan.2013), raised the question for the reason of this big difference, which presumably is correlated with to low sea temperatures in the North- and Baltic Sea . As already mentioned in the 1st Update, there had been serious sea ice in the German Bight since the 17/21 December 1939.

Fig. 9

On the night of the 23rd, a minimum of -23.3C was recorded at Rhaydaer(Powys) a record low for that date. Other lows include -20C at Canterbury , Welshpool, Hereford and Newport in Shropshire . Moscow measured as lowest −42.2 C (−44.0 F). But as records are only one side of the picture, a brief list of selected events reported by the New York Times,  NYT, if not otherwise indicated, is herewith produced.
__ January 01: All navigation on Danube stopped owing to ice (Frankcom, 1940).
__ January 08: Record frost in Northern and Central Russia , -35C/        -31F.
__ January 11: Romania , -40C/-40F.
__ January 11: Sea freezing in the Black Sea near Odessa .
__ January 11: Berlin , -20C/-4F.
__ January 11: Riga –41C/; Budapest –26C;Vienna –25C, Sofia –22C (Neue Zrcher Zeitung, NZZ, Jan. 11.)
__ January 13: Soviet Union extreme cold, Don Region –38C (NZZ, 14. Jan).
__ January 13: Riga , the bitterest cold wave for years (-40F).
__ January 15: Warsaw –40C/-40F.

__ January 17: Cold paralyses Northern Europe . Riga said that the temperature was at freezing point on Monday morning (January 15) and yesterday morning at 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Then it tumbled to 47.2 degrees below zero – a drop of 79.2 degrees in about thirty-six hours.  (NYT, Jan 18).

     January 1940: The cold that made the winter special showed up in January 1940. Many things happened of which only few can be mentioned. There was for example the all time record for Poland with −41.0 C /−41.8 F at Siedlce, Wojewdztwo Mazowieckie, on January 11th 1940. Two weeks later England  
cought up with the cold.


Date of the following four maps: 10. January 2013 (Click to scale up)

Fig. 10

Fig. 11

Fig. 12


See also the ice- and temperature charts fin the 1st Update










Further reading 

C2.  Records, Records, Records – Introduction
to the unexpected