Nebraska State Climatologist: Arctic Outbreaks Shifting Winter Temperatures

March 1, 2022

I spoke to Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski in January, and she said some things that I had not heard from other researchers.

In recent decades, she told me, winters on average have warmed, globally, and across North America. But across the midwest, there has been an increasing tendency towards super cold Arctic outbreaks in the month of February – so much so that the average temperatures for the month of February in Nebraska, and somewhat in surrounding states, have cooled more than 5 degrees over recent decades, even in the face of the overall warming of meteorological winter, (defined as December, January, February)

She offered last year’s Valentine’s Day Polar Vortex (that resulted in the Texas power grid debacle) as an example – and proved prescient, as we saw a similar mid-continent cold blast come and go over the last week.

UPDATE: Further clarification on the Arctic outbreak signal.

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