What happened to winter? Jet stream science explains unseasonable warmth in U.S.

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  7 months ago  •  26 comments

By:   Denise Chow

What happened to winter? Jet stream science explains unseasonable warmth in U.S.
If the mild conditions in the U.S. persist through February, this could be the country’s warmest winter in recorded history.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Around the world and particularly across much of the United States, a question has emerged: What happened to winter?

In Japan, record low snowfall has   forced ski resorts to close   prematurely. In Finland, forests that would normally be stark and bare at this time of year appear lush after what was an   "exceptionally" warm January . And in   one county in Michigan , municipal workers who usually spend winter plowing snow have taken to trimming trees. The lack of snow in Russia led Moscow to bring in   fake snow for its New Year festivities   and pushed one lawmaker to accuse the United States of using a " climate weapon " against his country.

If the mild conditions in the U.S. persist through February, this could be the country’s warmest winter in recorded history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Though it may seem like another symptom of global warming, the warmer-than-usual conditions are more directly caused by an Arctic weather pattern that is trapping cold air in the polar region. Scientists are watching this system closely to try to understand whether this winter is an outlier or a preview of what could become more common for the Northern Hemisphere.

Karin Gleason, a climate scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said this winter is on pace to edge out the 2015-16 season, which holds the record for warmest winter. At that time, the average temperature across the U.S. from December through February was 36.7 degrees Fahrenheit (2.6 degrees Celsius).

NOAA recently announced that   last month was the fifth warmest January   in the agency’s 126-year climate record. All 48 of the contiguous states experienced a warmer-than-usual month, with the average temperature more than 5 degrees above the 20th century average.


Still, the pattern can change quickly and its behavior can be difficult to predict.

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"This is actually an area of active research because if we could forecast it, we could really enhance longer-term predictability of weather conditions," Serreze said. "If you could say in November that the coming winter is going to be preferentially in a positive phase, that would be valuable for aviation or cities planning snowplow budgets, for example."

Computer models are used to try to forecast shorter-term changes in the Arctic Oscillation. Carl Schreck, a meteorologist at the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, said there are indications that the current positive phase could last for several more weeks.

"Some models are showing it well into March," he added.

This strong Arctic Oscillation also explains the dearth of extreme winter weather across much of the U.S.

"Storms tend to develop along the jet stream and are guided by it," Serreze said. "What we’re seeing is the polar front jet stream shifted north and that Arctic air is just trapped at high latitudes."

Scientists are studying whether climate change is affecting the Arctic Oscillation, but for now, any concrete links are tough to pin down, according to Serreze.

Studies have suggested that as global warming minimizes temperature differences between the Arctic and regions further south, the   jet stream could become wavier than usual .

"We’re already seeing the Arctic warming at an outsize rate compared to the rest of the planet," he said. "If we’re changing the temperature gradient between higher and lower latitudes, the jet stream is going to respond to that."

And while scientists can’t draw conclusions based on one season or the climate patterns of one year, Serreze said this past winter demonstrates how conditions in the Arctic — a region especially sensitive to climate change — can have global implications.

"In other words, what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic," he said.



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Buzz of the Orient
1  Buzz of the Orient    7 months ago

800

 
 
 
zuksam
1.1  zuksam  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    7 months ago

Thank You Canada !

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  zuksam @1.1    7 months ago

The last time Americans said that was when Canada rescued American hostages that were held by the Iranians.

800

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.2  Gordy327  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    7 months ago

Great, now I have the "blame Canada" song stuck in my head. Lol

 
 
 
evilgenius
2  evilgenius    7 months ago
If the mild conditions in the U.S. persist through February, this could be the country’s warmest winter in recorded history.

All I know is it's fucking cold this morning! It is -13 with a wind chill as low as -35. Tomorrow will be slightly worse. So Thanks Canada!

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1  Kavika   replied to  evilgenius @2    7 months ago

Native American weather report from Leech Lake MN. My cousin Luther Walks the Horse reporting.

 
 
 
evilgenius
2.1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Kavika @2.1    7 months ago

BWAHAHAHAHA! "Betcha won't catch my ass out there today." - Hillarious!

 
 
 
KDMichigan
2.1.2  KDMichigan  replied to  Kavika @2.1    7 months ago

That's how it is here today. Just got done shoveling thru 2 foot drifts so my Yorkie had a poop zone. Thinking i'll call the plow guy instead of snow blowing the driveway, to damn cold.

 
 
 
evilgenius
2.1.3  evilgenius  replied to  KDMichigan @2.1.2    7 months ago

You must have gotten all that snow we were supposed to get yesterday. We barely got a dusting. 

 
 
 
KDMichigan
2.1.4  KDMichigan  replied to  evilgenius @2.1.3    7 months ago

Not much snow but plenty of winds. 10 degrees not counting wind chill ATM. i'll pay the 15 dollars for a plow lol

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1.5  Kavika   replied to  KDMichigan @2.1.2    7 months ago

We're suffering through another cold spell here in Ocala...

Current temp 77 with a high of 84...Burrrrrrrrr. Oh, and it's sunny as well...

512

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1.6  Kavika   replied to  evilgenius @2.1.1    7 months ago

I spoke to one of my other cousins that lives in Red Lake. The current temp is -19. They don't figure in the wind chill according to him that a sissy thing to do...LMAOjrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
XDm9mm
2.1.7  XDm9mm  replied to  Kavika @2.1.6    7 months ago
The current temp is -19. They don't figure in the wind chill according to him that a sissy thing to do...LMAO

I spent 7 years, which was 8 years too long in MN.   Maple Grove to be exact (northwest corner of the twin cities metro area).

I remember when I got there a few months before the wife and son arrived.  While house hunting I saw people out in shorts and I even glimpsed a few women in bikinis washing their cars when the temps were in the low 40's.  I was well speechless.   THEN I experienced a few MN winters (including the Halloween Mega Storm) and understood 40's were warm balmy days as opposed to looking forward to zero as a warming trend!!

However, I get a kick out of the people here in San Antonio that dress like they're preparing for -zero temps and blizzard conditions when it gets into the high 40's low 50's.   I even had one person ask me if I needed money for a coat when she saw me in a golf shirt picking up a prescription at the local HEB.  It was in the low 40's at the time.

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1.8  Kavika   replied to  XDm9mm @2.1.7    7 months ago

We considered the Twin Cities area to be Miami north when compared to Red Lake which is 250 north of the Cities and I was another 110 miles north of Red Lake in Warroad...LMAO

Summer in northern MN is a Tuesday afternoon in August, don't blink. 

I get a kick out of the people in Florida, 50 degrees is hibernating weather...I've become one of them...jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
evilgenius
2.1.9  evilgenius  replied to  KDMichigan @2.1.4    7 months ago
i'll pay the 15 dollars for a plow lol

I'd pretty much have to this week. Both of us here have bronchitis/upper respiratory infections. It's been fun to see who can cough the loudest.

 
 
 
KDMichigan
2.1.10  KDMichigan  replied to  evilgenius @2.1.9    7 months ago

That sucks, get well. fortunately I've dodged any colds this year, only had the brown bottle flu once.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1.11  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @2.1    7 months ago

Best laugh I have had all day!

 
 
 
bugsy
2.1.12  bugsy  replied to  Kavika @2.1.5    7 months ago

I feel ya. I live in Jacksonville and planted some vegetable seeds today cuz if February....or in other words...planting season in Florida.

Oh, yea...the allergies are kicking my wife's ass.

 
 
 
evilgenius
2.1.13  evilgenius  replied to  KDMichigan @2.1.10    7 months ago
get well.

Thank you.

 
 
 
Kavika
2.1.14  Kavika   replied to  bugsy @2.1.12    7 months ago

512

Yup the allergies can be a bit bothersome but -20 and 5 feet of snow can be brain-damaging. 

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
3  Dean Moriarty    7 months ago

We've been having a perfect winter. We got about 4 feet of snow in the last week with temperatures in the twenties. 

 
 
 
MUVA
3.1  MUVA  replied to  Dean Moriarty @3    7 months ago

Going to Breckinridge in March we have only road three days this year we go to west VA it has sucked.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dean Moriarty @3    7 months ago

Dean,

Every skier knows that snow is a whole different thing, especially when you can just fly it downhill. 

 
 
 
Kavika
5  Kavika     7 months ago

Besides surfing and sunbathing our Florida dogs do some of this. 

512

 
 
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