I’ll Be Home for Cherry Blossom Time..
December 17, 2015
Calling Senator Inhofe. Your bouquet is ready.
The United States has just experienced its warmest autumn in history. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, temperatures in December are running about 20 degrees (f) above average; an average already pulled much warmer over 50-plus years. December in the Twin Cities is when our miriad of shallow ponds freeze, with our deeper lakes not far behind. Not this year; what ice had accumulated has all but disappeared and what would normally be a deepening snow pack is all in the form of rain or slush. Golf courses are open and my greening lawn looks like it could use a cutting. And we’re expecting up to an inch of rain over the weekend (which would be a foot or more of snow, if it were about five degrees colder)!
In his December 12th weather blog, my friend Paul Douglas, founder of Aeris Weather and WeatherNation says: “… What makes our current stretch of (irrational) warmth unusual is the sheer persistence of the mild signal: day after day, week after week, month after month…. Since September 1, over 80 percent of the days have been warmer than average, according to (Minnesota state climatologist) Mark Seeley. Further, if you add in the first 10 days of December, the stretch of days from September 1, 2015 to December 10th is the warmest in state history, a remarkable run of warmth.”
And here is a Climate Central map that Paul published:
Something is going on here. It looks like we could have a St. Louis winter (USDA Zone 7) in the Twin Cities (i.e. not below zero). And in St. Louis? How about an Atlanta winter, and so on. For the last several years, I have been developing and analyzing extreme minimum temperature trend lines, extending over the last 55 years, for Midwest cities, and my conclusion has been that the upper Midwest is warming faster than any other area of the country and that winters would become warmer still over the next several years. I just didn’t think it would happen quite this soon.