The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: Climate Change Moderating Coldest Days Of The Winter
Dead Diary. According to most meteorological models the weather pattern that has already materialized in the form of “Cold Wave Yeti” will truly put to the test today’s subject. Yeti will be a long lived, extensive, and dangerous weather item that Americans will be having to deal with for the rest of February. Yet it appears that Yeti won’t be nearly as cold as in past historic cold waves:
I’m sure that at lest a few records will fall, probably at stations that have short periods, or those that haven’t been taking records for only a few decades as opposed to near 100 years. Time will tell, and I’ll report any of these on this site as usual.
In my home town of Atlanta we are working on another record. It’s been well over 1000 days since our official low has failed to be colder than 20°F. When I was living here during the 1970s and 1980s teens for lows were a common occurrence from December into early March. Not any more, although most folks aren’t complaining. Most everywhere else the bight of winter’s deadliest chill is becoming less sharp. This saves on the old heating bill. Also, there are less busting pipes. Yet, is this phenomenon a good thing?
Here is Climate Central’s assessment of this not so subtle warming trend for winters:
Coldest Days Are Not as Cold
FEB 10, 2021
Frigid air from the Arctic has descended on the lower 48 states this week, bringing the coldest air of the season. But as greenhouse gas emissions continue to drive climate change, cold extremes are just not as cold as they used to be across the country.
- The polar vortex is once again causing many of us to reach for long underwear and heavy sweaters. But because the Arctic is warming nearly three times faster than the rest of the planet, the Arctic air advancing into the U.S. isn’t as cold as it used to be.
- Climate Central looked at the annual lowest temperatures at 244 locations across the U.S and found that 98% have recorded a rise of at least 1°F in their yearly coldest temperature since 1970.
- The average trend across these cities is a 7°F rise, and 42 cities have recorded an increase of 10°F or more. And the warming trend is happening in cities across the country: Boise, Idaho (16°F), Albany, N.Y. (14°F), Minneapolis (12°F), Nashville, Tenn. (14°F), and Anchorage, Alaska (12°F).
- Shorter winters can make fall last longer and spring start earlier meaning longer allergy seasons and extended seasons for ticks and mosquitoes.
The polar vortex is once again causing many of us to reach for long underwear and heavy sweaters. But because the Arctic is warming nearly three times faster than the rest of the planet, the Arctic air advancing into the U.S. isn’t as cold as it used to be.
Climate Central looked at the annual lowest temperatures at 244 locations across the U.S and found that 98% have recorded a rise of at least 1°F in their yearly coldest temperature since 1970. Just 2% experienced a decrease of at least 1°F. The average trend across these cities is a 7°F rise, and 42 cities have recorded an increase of 10°F or more. And the warming trend is happening in cities across the country: Boise, Idaho (16°F), Albany, N.Y. (14°F), Minneapolis (12°F), Nashville, Tenn. (14°F), and Anchorage, Alaska (12°F).
Not every outbreak of bitter cold can be attributed to the polar vortex. First, the polar vortex is always present, strengthening in the cold months. It is a fundamental feature of the atmosphere, a fast moving current of air encircling the Arctic that forms because of the increased temperature difference between the dark, frigid Arctic air and milder air away from the poles. There are actually two vortices, one in the layer of the upper atmosphere known as the stratosphere and one in the lower section, where our weather happens, called the troposphere. These two features interact with each other and can affect the weather outside of the Arctic. When the tropospheric polar vortex buckles or expands, and the jet stream slides to the south, it brings cold air with it. And we all need extra blankets.
Less extreme cold may sound great to those of us who don’t like the cold. But the warmer winters we have been experiencing impact other seasons. Shorter winters can make fall last longer and spring start earlier meaning longer allergy seasons and extended seasons for ticks and mosquitoes. And of course, warmer winters threaten ice fishing, skiing, pond hockey, and other outdoor recreation.
POTENTIAL LOCAL STORY ANGLES
Are you prepared for extremely cold weather?
Here are some tips from the National Weather Service to protect yourself and those around you in bitter temperatures, and how to understand a wind chill. Don’t forget to look out for your pets, as well.
What’s the snow forecast in your area?
The National Weather Service (NWS) has a Winter Weather Desk, which provides twice-daily updated forecasts for snow, freezing rain, and other wintry conditions around the country. You can find local information from your nearby NWS office here, and you can also see snow reports at specific ski resorts here.
Is winter warming making pests worse in your area?
Winter is the fastest-warming season for most of the country — mostly the eastern United States. The CDC provides information on the presence of health threats from mosquitoes, ticks and vector-borne diseases in the U.S, as well as press kits for mosquitoes and ticks, including experts to contact.
The SciLine service, 500 Women Scientists or the press offices of local universities may be able to connect you with local scientists who have expertise on warming winters in your area. The American Association of State Climatologists is a professional scientific organization composed of all 50 state climatologists.
- Dr. Sarah Kapnick, Deputy Division Leader & Research Physical Scientist
Seasonal to Decadal Variability and Predictability Division
NOAA, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
Expertise: Snowfall, snowpack variability, predictability, extremes, climate change
- Mario Molina, Protect Our Winters
Media Contact: Torrey Udall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual minimum temperature trends from 1970 to 2020 were calculated using data from the Applied Climate Information System. Displayed trend lines are based on a mathematical linear regression.
Here is more January and February 2021 climatology:
Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”