One benefit to living on the tundra: our coldest days are often sunny. No lake-effect gray. Many people I bump into are more impacted by a lack of sun than winter chill. No wonder we light candles and turn on holiday lights.
Yesterday's Winter Solstice brought 8 hours and 46 minutes of daylight. Yep, we're still standing. Today: daylight will be 3 seconds longer. We pick up over 4 minutes by December 31, 36 minutes within a month.
Our coldest weather usually comes the 3rd week of January, but I still don't see any widespread subzero weather for the metro, looking out 2 weeks. A typical winter (?) brings an average of 30 subzero nights. My gut: maybe 4-6 nights below zero this winter, contining a trend we've seen in recent decades.
No weather drama for us looking out into early January: mid-20s today, then colder tomorrow as the latest clipper exhales teens south of the border. Christmas looks cold, but dry - long range models hinting at a couple inches of snow on Friday.
If anyone asks (doubtful) 46.9 percent of America is snow-covered. 20 inches of snow near Madison! We'll get our white Christmas, just barely.
No thaws in sight, but the days are getting longer now.
July: hottest month in record-keeping U.S. history, averaging 77.6 degrees. Over the year, more than
69,000 local heat records set in 2012 in the USA — including 356 locations in 34 states that hit their highest-ever temperature mark. Source: AP and NOAA.
2,300 U.S. counties declared Agricultural Disaster Areas this year, due to extreme drought, the worst since 1956.
9.2 million acres of land burned in 2012, roughly the size of Maryland - 3rd largest area since 1960.
5 countries set all-time heat records in 2012; no all-time cold records were observed.
18% Summer sea ice in the Arctic dropped 18% from its previous record. Some scientists report close to an 80% drop in sea ice volume in the last 30 years.
- There is a 99.99999999 percent chance that 2012 will be the hottest year ever recorded in the continental 48 states, based on our analysis of 118 years of temperature records through Dec. 10, 2012...."
- There was another small drop less than one-tenth of a percentage point in overall U.S. drought coverage, from 61.87% last week to 61.79% on December 18.
- However, the portion of the contiguous U.S. in the worst category D4, or exceptional drought crept upward to 6.64%, the greatest U.S. coverage since November 22, 2011.
- Hay in drought (64%), cattle in drought (73%), and winter wheat in drought (63%) were all unchanged from the previous week.
- Hay in drought has been at or above 60% and cattle in drought has been greater than two-thirds of the domestic inventory for 24 consecutive weeks (July 10 December 18).
- On the central Plains, winter wheat benefited from widespread snow on December 19. Any improvement in the central Plains’ drought situation will be reflected next week.
* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor information from NOAA is here.
Photo credit above: "The Casino Pier's wrecked Jet Star roller coaster in Seaside Heights, N.J., Nov. 28, 2012. A month after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along the Jersey Shore, the area is slowly starting to recover." (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
349 Americans lost their lives due to extreme weather so far in 2012, 131 of them in Hurricane Sandy. Source: NOAA.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading...” - Lao Tsu, 550 B.C.
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"Asteroids and climate change are the only two threats in the table that can have abrupt and global consequences, and to which everyone on the planet is exposed, regardless of their lifestyle or personal behavior. In principle, they are both preventable. In both cases mitigation would require international agreements and cooperation. But would such collaboration even be possible if a threatening asteroid were discovered, or would we be bogged down in the same kind of denial and obstruction that has prevented action on climate change?..."
Map: NOAA, National Climatic Data Center.
Graphic credit: "Projected warming even with (an unlikely) low climate sensitivity of between 1.5°C and 2.0°C from Michael Ring et al 2012. A WSJ op-ed that cites this work absurdly concludes “Evidence points to a further rise of just 1°C by 2100.” Not even close."
Scientists Respond To The Wall Street Journal's Latest Junk Science Climate Predictions. The WSJ is rapidly losing credibility, at least when it comes to peer-reviewed science. Climate Science Watch has the latest rebuttal here.
Photo credit above: "Researchers have discovered a strong historical link between global temperature increases and increases in volcanic activity." (Photo: Shutterstock)