Monday, February 22, 2010

Tumbling Temperatures

A short & sweet (?) weather update tonight, because let's be honest here: there's precious little to talk about in the weather department. I'm OK with that, btw, because I know (from past experience) that our snow-drought will come to an end in a week or two. It can't stay this quiet much longer - at some point the other shoe (boot) will drop and once again weather will lead area newscasts. More reporters standing out in the snow and slush, telling us that it's snowing and slushing.

A blustery dusting. The chance of accumulating snow increases the farther north/east you drive across Minnesota today. An inch or so of snow is possible from Princeton to Hinckley and Duluth, maybe 3-6" for far northern Wisconsin (the result of lake effect snow).

You'll feel a new sting in the air today as temperatures tumble through the 20s into the teens, a raw northwest wind making it feel like zero later today. That's right: more wind-chill-babble clogging the TV and radio airwaves today. The mercury dips below zero over central and northern Minnesota the next couple of nights, but this will be a brief, glancing blow of arctic air. The core of the bitter air will pass off a few hundred miles to our north and east - this won't be anything like the first 12 days of January. The sun is simply too high in the southern sky, as powerful as it was the third week of October. By the end of the week daytime highs will recover well into the 20s - it looks like a string of low/mid 30s next week. Another thaw, more dripping icicles and gurgling drainspouts. It's been 2 weeks since we've seen enough snow to shovel and plow, and I STILL don't see a "plowable" snowfall looking out through the second week of March. The arrival of numbing air may set off a dusting of snow today, a few roads may get iced up, but I don't expect any widespread travel problems. Today's clipper is starved for moisture, that will limit just how many flakes fall out of that cold, slate-gray sky.

An historic January? According to NCDC much of the planet experience a warmer-than-average January. Red dots signify warmer temperatures last month, the larger the dot the greater the temperature departure from normal. The eastern two thirds of the USA and much of Europe/Asia had a colder than normal January, but that seemed to be the exception and not the rule worldwide. For all the climate information you can possibly digest click here.

Breaking climate news from the NCDC, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. We've been preoccupied by some of the bizarre weather, especially the records snows in the Baltimore/D.C. area a couple weeks back. Yes, 40" over 5 days from two separate storms is a pretty big deal. But stepping back, taking a big (global) picture it turns out that January was the 4th warmest since 1880. The world's oceans experienced the second warmest January on record, second only to 1998, the most intense El Nino year on record. Could the current El Nino be keeping the planet warmer than it would be otherwise? Absolutely. February is running 1-2 degrees F. warmer than average across most of Minnesota - the entire winter is running a few degrees above average across not only Minnesota and Wisconsin but most northern tier states of the USA, while readings are dramatically colder over the southeastern USA (and Florida). Blame (or thank) El Nino. Why not - it's an easy scapegoat. When anything goes wrong in my life I blame El Nino. It's the bane of my existence, frankly. I'd have a full head of hair (and weigh 10-15 pounds less) if it wasn't for that dang-blasted El Nino! At this rate I may have to organize a protest of some sort. Stay tuned....

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for January 2010 was 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F). This is the fourth warmest January on record.
  • The global land surface temperature for January 2010 was 0.83°C (1.49°F) above the 20th century average of 2.8°C (37.0°F)—the twelfth warmest January on record. Land areas in the Southern Hemisphere were the warmest on record for January. In the Northern Hemisphere, which has much more land, comparatively, land surface temperatures were 18th warmest on record.
  • The worldwide ocean surface temperature for January 2010 was the second warmest—behind 1998—on record for January, 0.52°C (0.94°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.5°F). This can be partially attributed to the persistence of El Niño across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC), El Niño is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010. (source: NCDC)

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

Today: Mostly cloudy, gusty, turning colder - a dusting of flurries possible. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 20 (falling)

Tuesday night: Partial clearing, plenty cold. Low: near 0 (-5 outlying suburbs).

Wednesday: Blue sky, numbing breeze. High: 15

Thursday: Lingering sunshine, not as cold. Low: 1. High: 22

Friday: Partly sunny. High: 28

Saturday: Mix of sun & flakes. High: 29

Monday: Closer to average, mix of clouds and sun. High: 31

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