.7" February snowfall.
5" Snow on the ground as of Tuesday evening at 7 pm.
42 F. High on Tuesday in the Twin Cities
28 F. Average high for February 15.
30 F. High temperature on February 15, 2010.
63 F. Record high for February 15 (1921).
Weather Headlines: 40s linger today and Thursday, readings 15-20 degrees above average for mid February. A little drizzle is possible Thursday, giving way to flurries Friday as temperatures fall. A colder front is brewing for late week, but nothing Arctic is in sight. Saturday looks like the sunnier, drier day of the weekend, clouds increase Sunday, a period of light snow possible late Sunday into Monday morning as a sloppy, southern storm tracks south/east of Minnesota. No major storms are in sight, just a slow cooling trend through the last few days of February. Enjoy this spell of March-like weather!
A Dramatic Shift. Upper level winds (500 mb, roughly 18,000 feet above the ground) are blowing from the southwest; the blocking pattern that kept feeding unusually cold air southward out of Canada has (finally) broken down - the result should be above-average temperatures through much of next week, followed by a cooling trend the last week of February.
Chicago, Illinois Third greatest snowfall in history with 21.2" (O'Hare Airport) on January 31-February 2. (Single greatest storm is 23.0" on January 26-27, 1967).
Tulsa, Oklahoma: All-time 24-hour snowfall of 14.0” on January 31-February 1 leads to all-time greatest snow depth of 16.0” by February 2. Also, Tulsa has now had its snowiest single month on record with 22.5” as of February 15 (old record was 19.7” in March 1924).
Arkansas: Almost an all-time state snowfall record for 24-hour and single-greatest-storm was set at Siloam Springs in Benton County with 24.5” of snow on February 9th. One foot of this fell in just 3 hours near Jasper between 5:30-8:30 a.m. The state record still holds at 25.0” at Corning on January 22, 1918.
- A key area of scientific research recently has been, and ought to continue to be, connections between reduced arctic sea ice and current / potential future changes in atmospheric circulation patterns.
- Global warming and extreme snowfall are not mutually exclusive.
Polar Sea Ice and Precipitation Highlights:
- The average Arctic sea ice extent for January was 5.23 million square miles (13.55 million square km), which was 8.7 percent below average. This ranks as the smallest January Arctic sea ice extent since records began in 1979 and the second consecutive month with record low Arctic ice extent.
- The January 2011 Antarctic sea ice extent was 7.5 percent below normal, and was the eighth smallest January ice extent since records began in 1979.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
International Arctic Climate Study To Begin. Canada's CPC has a story about a sudden scramble among nations to cope with melting ice (and permafrost) - happening considerably faster than the models were predicting even 5-10 years ago. Here's an excerpt: "Canada and its Arctic allies will launch a major study this spring to help northern nations cope with the irreversible effects of climate change. The speedy melting of polar ice is the driving force behind the Arctic Council's decision to announce the wide-ranging study. The project, called the Arctic Change Assessment, will be disclosed when Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and his seven counterparts meet this May in Greenland."
Update. 5 different "forcings" were considered in a more recent paper examining the impact of GHGs (greenhouse gases), sulfates, ozone, solar fluctuations and volcanoes. GHGs were found to the predominant forcing mechanism on climate change - little or no influence on global temperatures from the other factors considered.
Climate Change Keenly Felt In Alaska's National Parks. Scientific America has an article about the transformations taking place across Alaska. Far northern latitudes are warming much faster than mid latitudes, and no state is feeling the impact more than Alaska. "Since the mid-1970s, Alaska has warmed at three times the rate of the Lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And with nearly two-thirds of U.S. national parkland located in Alaska, the issue of climate change is especially pressing there, officials say. In some far northern parks such as Gates of the Arctic, average temperatures are expected to shift in coming years from below freezing to above freezing, crossing a crucial threshold, said Bob Winfree, Alaska science adviser for the Park Service. "The effects of melting ice and thawing permafrost, I think, will be major," Winfree said."