Remember the movie "Network"? Well I'm having a Howard Beale Moment. "I'm madder than (heck?) and I'm not going to take it any more!"
I can't work under such intolerable conditions. Now I'm a reluctant weather-therapist, trying to help friends, family (and readers) cope with the coldest winter in 35 years. But to no avail. So I'm going on strike and encouraging all Minnesota meteorologists to follow my lead.
Don't show up for work. Maybe a few minutes of dead air will encourage Canada to stop shelling us with subzero artillery.
Enough is enough.
Step away from the Doppler, Paul.
The good news? The glacier in your yard won't grow appreciably into next week - waves of numbing air pushing the storm track well south of Minnesota. The bad news (unless you're into aerobic shivering) is 7 more subzero nights next week, on top of the 45 we've already enjoyed. Hey, if we reach 53 subzero nights it'll be the most since 1978, the 5th most on record.
While we stare out our windows at serious-thermometer-shrinkage the rest of the northern hemisphere is shrugging through a lukewarm winter. According to NOAA January was the 4th warmest, worldwide, on record.
Yes, this too shall pass.
So far as of February 21, 2014 the WMI for the winter of 2013-14 in Twin Cities is 168 points, or in the "severe winter" category. Of course there is quite a bit of winter left. The lowest WMI score was the winter of 2011-2012 with 16 points. The most severe winter is 1916-1917 with 305 WMI points. How many WMI points will this winter score? stay tuned!
"laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
This is a winter that we can be thankful for laughter. I know that I saw many more smiles when the temperature finally touched 40 degrees F two days in a row this week in the Twin Cities. At least that gave us a bit of a respite...."
Image credit above: "The jet stream buckled in January, allowing extremely cold air (in blue) to enter the U.S." Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
$40 Billion: Drought Could Be One Of The Most Expensive Disasters In History. Will the rains come in time to help California? The odds are dropping with each passing day; the wet season winds down in March. It would take a (remarkable) amount of rain to replenish dusty topsoil and restore significant water to reservoirs. Here's an excerpt from CBS Sacramento: "California’s drought is so severe, experts say it could have a $40 billion impact on the state’s economy, and they say it could end up being one of the top 10 natural disasters our country has ever seen. Amarel says it’s already forcing farmers to downsize, and it could wipe out some altogether, especially when food prices start going up next year. The ripple effect could cripple the state’s economy, and farmers who remember the drought of 1976 are still bracing for the worst..."
An Improbable Sight. I've been doing this for 40 years, and I can't remember ever seeing something like this. I've read reports of isolated tornadoes over the Rockies, briefly passing over snowfields, a very rare meteorological event. But Thursday this (roping) tornado was photographed about 5 miles away from the photographer. Check out the piles of melting slush in the foreground; looks like half a foot (?) of dirty snow in that one clump. This takes weather whiplash to a new (and ridiculously jaw-dropping) level. Photo courtesy of Dana Cottingham Fricke, from Concord, Illinois.
British Floods - California Drought: A Connection? National Geographic explores the still-controversial theory that rapid warming and ice melt in far northern latitudes may be impacting the configuration of the jet stream; here's an excerpt: "...There is wide scientific consensus that global warming promotes weather extremes in those ways, even if the jury is still out on Francis's hypothesis of an Arctic connection. "We used to say you can't attribute any single event to climate change," says Thomas Peterson of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Now, he says, scientists emphasize how climate change is tilting the odds toward extreme events, the way steroids pump up a baseball player: "You know he's hitting 20 percent more home runs, but you don't know if a specific home run is a result of the steroids."
Photo credit above: "A flooded house in Egham, England, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. The River Thames has burst its banks after reaching its highest level in years, flooding riverside towns upstream of London, with Egham being about 20 miles (32 Km) east of central London." (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Pacific Nino 3.4 SST Outlook. Over the last few years we've been transitioning from a La Nina cooling phase of the Pacific to an ENSO-neutral phase, which should continue into spring. But models are increasingly hinting at an El Nino event possibly returning by the end of 2014. It's still too early to say, but if you'd like to dig into a little light reading (29 page PDF from NOAA NCEP Climate Prediction Center) give it a shot.
U.S. vs. China: Is This The New Cold War? Financial Times Magazine has a very interesting read here.
Play It Again: January Continues Globe's Warm Trend. You'd never know it staring at the thermometer in your back yard, but the planet continues to run a low-grade fever. Here's a clip from Climate Central: "Last month was the fourth-warmest January since recordkeeping began in 1880. It was also the 347th consecutive month with above-average temperatures compared to the 20th century average, which has been fueled in large part by climate change. That streak is one month shy of 29 straight years. Global average temperatures were also among their top 10 warmest for the ninth straight month, according to data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)..."