1999: last time we had a warmer Christmas (high was 43 F. that year).
Only 4 Christmas Days have been warmer since 1905 (NWS records).
Yesterday was only the 3rd time since 1944 the mercury has climbed above 40 on Christmas Day in the Twin Cities.
20 F. high in the metro area Christmas last year.
25 F. average high at KMSP.
51 F. record high today (1936).
"So far today the official high temperature at both Rockford and Chicago has been 44F. This makes today the 10th warmest Christmas on record in Rockford (out of 106) and tied 14th place (out of 140) in Chicago! This is also the warmest Christmas in 17 years, not since 1994 has the region seen temps. this warm on Christmas. It is possible we may still climate a degree or two before peaking out this afternoon." - Chicago National Weather Service.
1 month: ice is on Lake Mendota, in Madison, Wisconsin, an average of 1 month less every winter than it was 150 years ago. Photo courtesy of the U. of Wisconsin. "Lakes and rivers throughout the northern hemisphere are now freezing an average of six days later than they did 100 years ago." - from a recent paper from the National Wildlife Fund, details below.
“I’ve been a meteorologist 30 years and never seen a year that comes close to matching 2011 for the number of astounding, extreme weather events,” Jeffrey Masters, a co-founder of the popular Web site Weather Underground, said last month. “Looking back in the historical record, which goes back to the late 1800s, I can’t find anything that compares, either." - Weather Underground's Dr. Jeff Masters, in a New York Times article below.
Signs Of The First (Real) Cold Front Of Winter. It's not definite (it never is, come to think of it), but the GFS is pulling the first numbing air of winter into town around January 10. Not biting, subzero cold, but we could see a few days with highs in the teens and low 20s. We're due.
Q: How are snowflakes formed?
A: "A snowflake begins to form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. As the ice crystal falls to the ground, water vapor freezes onto the primary crystal, building new crystals – the six arms of the snowflake. That’s the short answer. The more complex explanation is this:
These ice crystals that make up snowflakes are symmetrical (or patterned) because they reflect the internal order of the crystal’s water molecules as they arrange themselves in predetermined spaces (known as “crystallization”) to form a six-sided snowflake."
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TODAY: Sunny, windy, near-record warmth. Winds: SW 15-30. High: 47 (record is 51 F).
MONDAY NIGHT: Breezy, cooling off. Low: 28
New Study: Warming On The Rise. The story from The Record Searchlight at redding.com: "Merry Christmas climate fanatics and deniers! Here is a gift for both of you. This is a new study. New evidence that the Earth is warming. Steadily. Since 1979, the year I graduated from college. When I was 23. Next month I will be twice as old as that. Plus ten years. Thirty-three years of warming. Year after year. Kind of like Chinese water torture. Drip, drip, drip. What is most interesting about global warming is the train never ends. At any point we can look out the (metaphorical) window (from the metaphorical train) like I am right now and see the climate changing. The deniers keep the blinds pulled. Shhh, don't wake them. Look, they are smiling. Such pleasant dreams."
Are Climate Change Reporters An Endangered Species? Huffington Post has the story: "Why aren't we seeing more coverage of climate change in the media? The issue is hardly going away. And now that world governments after Durban are not planning to take action 'til 2020, we need more coverage, not less. Yet environmentalists reported a drop off in climate change reporting in 2009 and 2010, and we may well see this again when we look back at 2011. What accounts for this change? A partial answer may be the difficulties facing the market at the moment. Newspapers are not a growth industry. As media organizations downsize, an ever decreasing number of journalists are required to cover an ever increasing remit of issues. Not good for any subject."