‘Nine Nines of Winter’ begins 

Posted: December 31, 2016 by oldbrew in climate, fuel poverty, weather

Another tough winter for Mongolian livestock? [image credit: eurasianet.org]

Another tough winter for Mongolian livestock?
[image credit: eurasianet.org]

Some unusually tough winter conditions are already affecting Mongolia as The UB Post reports. Herders have started counting the days until spring approaches in their own traditional way.

The coldest time of the year has breezed into Mongolia along with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of sunlight annually, which [was] marked on December 22 this year. [That] is the second day of the Nine Nines of Winter, a traditional method used by Mongolian herders to determine the date during winter.

Based on the lunar calendar, herders believed that winter lasted for 81 days, and which is counted in nine sets of nine days, also known as the “Nine Nines of Winter”.

Each of the Nines is associated with very practical forms of measurement of how cold it supposedly will be to allow herders to keep track of the days when they didn’t have modern methods of telling dates.

The Nine Nines are as follows:

First Nine:          Mongolian vodka (which is made through a condensation process using milk) freezes

Second Nine:        Regular vodka freezes

Third Nine:         The horns of 3-year-old cattle freeze and fall off

Fourth Nine:        The horns of 4-year-old cattle freeze

Fifth Nine:         Cooked rice no longer congeals

Sixth Nine:         Roads become visible through snow

Seventh Nine:      Snow on hill tops begins to melt

Eighth Nine:        The ground becomes damp

Ninth Nine:         Warmer days set in

The Nine Nines will end on March 12, 2017. However, the weather will become warmer by Tsagaan Sar, one of the biggest holidays in Mongolia, which will start on February 27 next year.

Full report: ‘Nine Nines of Winter’ begins | The UB Post

  1. ren says:

    A southward diversion of the polar jet stream will allow arctic air to flow southward out of Canada into much of the Lower 48 states by later next week.

  2. ulric lyons says:

    I first wrote about this winter in 2010, the useful heliocentric planetary analogue is Murphy’s Winter of early 1838. I have produced a detailed forecast here:


  3. dai davies says:

    ‘There was a bluish wolf which was born having his destiny from Heaven above. His spouse was a fallow doe.’ – The Secret History of the Mongols.

    The last time conditions on a millennial scale were like this, there was a young man called Temujin who had grown up in bitter poverty on the fringes of Mongol land and society. He united the Mongols who had thrived in the relative warmth.

    He was a socialist and created the institutions of state with a postal system and social welfare: ‘To bring forth one [sheep] of one year old from a hundred sheep and to give [it] unto the poor and needy is good.’ He advocated, and practiced, religious and cultural tolerance and insisted on appointment by merit rather than traditional hierarchy.

    Mongol culture was traditionally environmentalist: ‘We don’t clog and cumber ourselves with baggage and belongings, neither do we rifle the flesh and bones of the earth, rip her up and scar her.’

    But conditions were changing. Escaping the dzuds, he led them on their southern migration. What they found were societies devastated by the cold, and dying of hunger after repeated crop failures. The rest, as they say, is history.

    For anyone interested in realist historical fiction, Bryn Hammond has expanded The Secret History in her epic Amgalant series. Her rendition of the quote above is: ‘Once a great grey wolf, his fur touched by blue like a cloudy sky, wooed a doe, ochre like a steppe horizon.’

    Best wishes to all for the new year, and I hope we are able to deal with the coming cold better than our predecessors.

  4. pyromancer76 says:

    Happy New Year wishes for a free, prosperous,and healthy 2017 to Tallbloke and all who keep this a top notch blog. From across the pond, may there be many successful EXITS this coming year.

  5. oldmanK says:

    From dai davies “Best wishes to all for the new year, and I hope we are able to deal with the coming cold better than our predecessors.” They dealt with much worse – and lived to make better lives.

    Best wishes to all – from the little pond.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Coud be -28°C (‘Feels Like: -34°’) next week in the Mongolian capital, but that’s not much below the seasonal average (minimum) there. Last winter was really bad.


    [credit: weatheronline.co.uk]
    – – –
    What’s the local lingo for ‘where’s my global warming?’ 😉

  7. oldbrew says:

    Harsh Mongolian winter threatens disaster

    Extremely low temperatures and deep snow are putting at risk Mongolia’s livestock. It’s a disaster for the national economy, and it’s also a huge problem for thousands of herders across the Asian nation.

  8. ren says:

    For several years now there is a clear shift of the polar vortex in the direction of Europe and it is a clear trend.

    The air from Siberia over Alaska enters into the North America. Air can not warm up over the Pacific.

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