Wacky winter warmth--no end in sight

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 18. tammikuuta 2006 klo 15:29 (GMT)

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The bizarre winter of 2005-2006 continues unabated this week, with record warm temperatures continuing across North America. Drought continues to plague many areas across the southern half of the U.S., and the hoped-for rains across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas this week have mostly failed to materialize. January temperatures have ranged from 5 to 20 degrees above normal across most of the U.S. and Canada, and Canada's usual plentiful supply of Arctic air is absent. There are no signs that winter will return to North America anytime soon--the long range forecast from the GFS model continues to show far above-normal temperatures persisting into the first week of February. With the emergence of a full-fleged La Nina episode this month (see my previous blog), we should expect the jet stream to maintain a more northerly position, which will continue to keep this winter unusually warm.

How strange is this winter's warmth? Duluth, Minnesota, whose average low temperature is 0 F in January, has not recorded a low temperature below 3 F this month. The record fewest January days Duluth has had a sub-zero temperature is three days (1898). I wouldn't be at all surprised if Duluth winds up with no sub-zero temperatures this month.

Is all this due to global warming? Well, one cannot blame a single weather event--or single anomolous season--on global warming. However, the continued warming of the globe makes warmer winters more likely, as well as strange weather patterns that we're not used to seeing. The climate is changing, and we should expect to see unusual weather patterns increase in the coming years. Preliminary figures indicate that globally, 2005 was the warmest or second warmest year on record. This is pretty remarkable, since 2005 wasn't even an El Nino year. Previous record warm years have all been El Nino years, due to the extra heat these events add to the globe.

But it is really cold in Siberia!
Siberia, and indeed all of Russia and Asia, are experiencing one of their coldest winters on record. As is often the case when one part of the globe is experiencing record warmth, the jet stream is kinked in a way that funnels exceptional cold air to another region of the globe. The high temperature in Curapca, Siberia today was -58 F. The temperature hasn't risen above -26 F this year, and the low temperature has hit -64 F four times this January. This reading is still a ways away from matching the coldest temperature ever measured in the Northern Hemisphere--the astounding -67.8 C (-90 F) set at Siberia's notorious Pole of Cold in 1885. I doubt this winter's cold in Siberia will approach that record.

Still, in the Novosibirsk region of Siberia, temperatures fell to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit--the lowest in 100 years. In the city of Krasnoyarsk, celebrations for the Russian holiday known as Old New Year's Eve were canceled Friday after temperatures were also predicted to fall to minus 40. I'm sure the talk of the threat of global warming is at low ebb across Russia this winter, as the cold has caused unusual hardship.

Jeff Masters

Breath of winter (barsik)
Breath of winter
Polar Bears (BlackPointHawk)
January 1, 2006 - Local "Polar Bears" enter Lake Geneva in Williams Bay to be the first swimmers of 2006!
Polar Bears

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96. TampaSteve
23. tammikuuta 2006 klo 19:44 (GMT)
Well, it's back to normal here in Tampa for this time of year...highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s...what I like to call "perpetual fall"...it usually lasts until April, and then it starts to get hot again...I love this time of year in Tampa...sunny, dry, and NO BUGS!!!
95. bobrulz
21. tammikuuta 2006 klo 07:45 (GMT)
Well, here in Salt Lake City we're actually supposed to be a bit below average all week (low-to-mid 30's), so it's not all bad here (it was really freaking warm at the beginning of the month).
94. Milton1583
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:59 (GMT)

Been reading these awhile just haven't bothered to sign up until now.

I was hoping somebody would tell me that this whole negative Arctic Oscillation possibility could be wrong. After all I dread the thought of cold weather and I am loving this winter because it is this warm.

So is the negative arctic oscillation a certainty at this point?
93. HeavySnow
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 18:24 (GMT)
Happy Birthday Lightning. D- huh. If I had this back then, I would have had many more D-'s. Cold is making a comeback soon.
Member Since: 7.07.2004 Posts: 18 Comments: 2989
92. buckeyefan1
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 18:00 (GMT)
Happy Birthday lightning10!!! WOW the big 18!! I remember the days! LOL! Don't worry, just do something extra and you'll make up for that grade!!
91. rwdobson
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:47 (GMT)
Dirty rain...a year or so back I was in Davenport, Iowa, at a baseball game (minor league games are awesome). The stadium is right by the Miss River in a fairly industrial area. A severe t-storm moved in, but right before the rain hit, this massive cloud of dust descended on the stadium. They had to call the game before it even started raining b/c of the dust. Everyone who was in the outfield got a coating all over them.
Member Since: 12.06.2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1574
90. lightning10
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:14 (GMT)
I would just like to say I am in class. I need to spend more time doing my work and less time on this web site I got a D- on my test today.

Its also my Birthday today (turning 18 today)

CuriousCat Anyways back to weather talk. I remember back in 2003 durning all the fires here in mountains and foothills that lasted for a few weeeks it rained ash where I live for many days. When I woke up it looked liked it snowed. Then the first storm of the season came on October 31st it was a real light rain no more then a 0.10 of an inch of rain fell where I lived. Most of the rain fizzled out. Anyways it looked like there was mud on everything. I remember the streets where all slick and stuff.
Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
89. oriondarkwood
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 17:06 (GMT)
Upstate NY is not fairing much better. Its suppose to be almost 60 DEGRESS today, worse yet is thier has been alot of rapid warm ups and dives this season. The next 24 hours will be one of them with almost 60 today and then mid 30's and dropping like a rock tommorrow at this time.
Member Since: 5.07.2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 41
88. HurricaneMyles
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:21 (GMT)
Im actually surprised to see an area of relativly low shear extended across almost the whole carribean and into the mid atlantic. If that persits, I wouldnt be surprised to see a storm try to develope.
Member Since: 12.01.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
87. HurricaneMyles
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:17 (GMT)
Its winter, shear is whats expected. If it wasen't there then Id be surprised.
Member Since: 12.01.2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
86. dcw
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 11:26 (GMT)
Holy shear batman!

But midlvl...:

Member Since: 2.08.2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
85. bigdrvr
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 07:49 (GMT)
31.2 last night at my house in Mandarin, FL (just south of Jacksonville). Had to scrape ice this morning. Personally, I'd prefer it to be much warmer..I wouldn't care if I never felt below 70 degrees ever again..I hope we are entering a period of definite warmer winters.
84. Inyo
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 07:42 (GMT)
lightning, its a cutoff low. no one has any idea if it's gonna rain or not. it probably wont just because it's been dry... but it certainly isnt out of the question either.

it is definitely winter here, at least in the mountains. It was below 20 up in the high elevations with wind chills in the low teens or lower. Sandberg near the grapevine got some snow today. It's cold.. just not wet.
Member Since: 3.09.2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 867
83. arcturus
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:31 (GMT)
CuriousCat- The extreme drought conditions combined with strong winds puts alot of dirt dust in the air so when a line of thunderstorms comes thru it can be dirty rain. Especially true if the rains are light. We get yellow rain in the spring
when the pollen is washed from the air during light showers after a long dry period.

82. ProgressivePulse
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:28 (GMT)
Sorry, just east of the antillies.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
81. ProgressivePulse
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:24 (GMT)
Interesting to see a warm core system form this time of year.
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
80. ProgressivePulse
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:23 (GMT)
Interesting Question, Chances of Upper-Mid Low just south of the antillies developing?
Member Since: 19.08.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 4863
79. gippgig
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 06:22 (GMT)
Does the total ACE for a year include subtropical storms? If so, is it calculated the same way?
Member Since: 5.12.2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 64
78. CuriousCat
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 05:31 (GMT)
My first post EVER, but I must ask: has anyone ever experienced dirty rain? In Houston, TX on the night of 1/16 to 1/17, we had a line of thunderstorms roll through and the next morning ALL the cars parked outside were covered in a dusty film. I thought maybe it was a weird wind pattern in my neighborhood, but when I got to work, which is 20 miles away, there were a good number of cars in the parking lot that were equally covered in soot-like dust. I know the air is dirty out here, but why isn't anyone talking about this dirty rain? Any info is much appreciated.
77. Trouper415
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 03:36 (GMT)
Thats an amazing shot of that amazing storm. Watching its progression in some of the IR videos, is very impressive. That was one sucker of a storm.
Member Since: 22.09.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
76. RL3AO
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 03:21 (GMT)
I'm sure some have seen this sat pic, but it is amazing how perfect this storm was

74. lightning10
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 03:09 (GMT)
I miss Winter time. Every day I wake up and turn the computer on around 5:30 AM and hope there is a major change in the Jet Stream. Every day so far since December I have been disapointed.
Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 41 Comments: 630
73. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 02:54 (GMT)
ForecasterColby mail for you
72. ForecasterColby
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 02:35 (GMT)
Whoa! Daryl's kicking some major butt now, a minimal Hurricane on our scale and strengthening quite rapidly. New imagery posted in the thread on my site too.
71. Inyo
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 02:16 (GMT)
the latest long range forecast i saw called for drier than average conditions across the whole Southern United Utates.. consistent with La Nina i guess.. but i hope this proves false.
Member Since: 3.09.2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 867
70. Trouper415
20. tammikuuta 2006 klo 00:49 (GMT)
Dont worry. Winter will be back.

Giants in 06
Member Since: 22.09.2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
69. arcturus
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 23:43 (GMT)
Cool i can always looks at tropical developments.

Now if the recent GFS long range models can hold their ground, winter is going to make a wild comeback the first week of
february. I say that cause the GFS has teased several times
this month about happenings past ten days only to reverse course the next day.

68. ForecasterColby
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 23:24 (GMT)
For those who like to track international storms, TC Daryl is raging in the South Pacific, off the coast of Australia.

Members of my site can discuss it here, and anyone can read:
67. ForecasterColby
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 23:14 (GMT)
WOW...that's amazing stuff. Those are river/lake heights?
66. snowski
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 22:45 (GMT)
65. snowski
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 22:41 (GMT)
64. snowski
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 22:37 (GMT)
63. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 21:29 (GMT)
my blog is update and you can say wow is is a big long update
62. phillyflyers26
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:57 (GMT)
GFS is pointing towards a strong negative NAO by the end of the month. snowy feb. possible
61. ForecasterColby
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:57 (GMT)
WOW! That big blob of ICTZ convection actually made it across the atlantic in JANUARY!
60. snowski
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:53 (GMT)
Texas is in a drought indeed. Toledo Bend REservoir is the largest reservoir in Texas and is on the Texas-Louisiana border. Its water level is shown below:

...while Lake Meredith is in West Texas near the New Mexico border. Its water level is shown below:

Data is from USGS

It's only January, but if this drought keeps up we may have serious problems this summer here in Texas.
59. fropa
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:40 (GMT)
Today I noticed mention by the HPC and CPC of a sudden stratospheric warming event that occurred last week over the artic, which may result in a pattern change to colder across North America. The CPC's Hazards Assessment web page mentioned that a much colder regime may be in place by early February across much of the U.S. as these events tend to result in higher heights over arctic regions and a strong negative Artic Oscillation. I guess this is not yet cut in stone, but it is interesting.
58. Skyepony (Mod)
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:17 (GMT)
the coldest Curapca, Siberia got last year was -54C....interesting
Member Since: 10.08.2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36178
57. phillyflyers26
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:08 (GMT)
that storm wud b all rain 4 philly and suburbs. hopefully the track shifts a little bit.
56. Skyepony (Mod)
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 20:08 (GMT)
it's -63C in Curapca, Siberia right now.
Member Since: 10.08.2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36178
55. TheSnowman
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 19:25 (GMT)

54. TampaSteve
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 19:21 (GMT)
FloridaBorn: Yeah, it got down into the 30s here last night, but it has bounced right back up to 70 now, and should be close to 80 tomorrow. I love Florida!
53. rwdobson
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 18:51 (GMT)
Here in Kansas City, the surprising thing has not been the warmth, but the persistence of the warmth. It's pretty common to get a nice spell in January here. In fact, the high temp has been 62 degrees on New Years Day for the last 3 years in a row. What's unusual is that it has stayed that warm. This very well could end up being the warmest January on record in KC.
Member Since: 12.06.2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1574
52. dcw
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 18:12 (GMT)
Heh, was cold this morning but the effects of the front are already wearing off.
Member Since: 2.08.2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
51. arcturus
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 16:54 (GMT)
phillyfan909 - i am north of the turnpike near the county line with Bucks.

Second storm brought wind gusts of 50mph wednesday morn, this
following the sat-sun storm that clocked 60mph.

50. KatrinaRitaWilmaZeta
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 15:50 (GMT)
snowday to day so i got a day off
49. FtWaltonBch2Tucson
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 13:51 (GMT)
We're finally getting something resembling winter weather temperature wise, (or what /passes/ for Winter temperatures in Tucson) but still not a drop of rain. It looked really promising on Sunday and Monday, but I didn't even see virga.
Member Since: 9.01.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 21
48. FloridaBorn
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 11:59 (GMT)
It was 28 last night in my neck of the woods (North Florida). That's a bit colder than usual for this part of Florida in January.
Member Since: 8.06.2002 Posts: 3 Comments: 11
47. dcw
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 11:14 (GMT)
Check this out, TC Daryl near Australia - deepening pretty dang quick:

Member Since: 2.08.2001 Posts: 2 Comments: 3
46. Inyo
19. tammikuuta 2006 klo 08:22 (GMT)
Lightning 10, i am not sure if La Nina is linked with marine layer depth. (i think the biggest influence on summer temperatures in that area is how deep the marine layer and how far inland it goes) I know that colder than average ocean temperatures (something that isnt too common these days, it seems) and a high thermal gradient between the coastal and desert areas are linked to deep, thick marine inversions. I remember two summers ago during that relatively dry period the marine layer was unusually thick in June and July and was actually pouring over the Sierra Peloma into the desert on some days.
Member Since: 3.09.2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 867

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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