December 10, 1979: The temperature dropped in Roseville from 48 degrees at 2 pm to zero by dawn.
December 10, 1916: Montevideo had its fifty-second consecutive day with no precipitation.
Since 1899 there have been a total of 32 Christmases in the Twin Cities with no snow or a trace of snow, qualifying as a "brown Christmas". The last time this happened was 2011. Unless the pattern shifts dramatically and unexpectedly, I'm expecting a snow-optional Christmas this year.
Blame (or thank) El Nino, a mild stain of water in the Pacific. Yesterday the Japan Meteorological Agency called it the first official El Nino in 5 years.
Historically, El Nino has a domino effect worldwide, impacting not only ocean currents but how jet stream steering winds set up. Big storms tend to slam into California, track across the far southern USA before turning up the East Coast - a pattern we're already seeing manifested on the weather maps. We'll still see cold fronts, but during an El Nino winter winds aloft blow from the Pacific with greater frequency, meaning milder and (usually) drier for Minnesota.
Exhibit A: we should hit 40F tomorrow; 50s possible over the weekend - 20 to 25F warmer than average. Moist, Pacific air passing over cold ground will spark clouds and thick fog at times, even a little rain Sunday.
I don't see any accumulating snow between now and Christmas Eve.
* One year ago today the Twin Cities woke up to -8F with an afternoon high of 5F. Source: NOAA.
Map credit above: "Global temperatures sea surface levels in June. Weather agencies have been predicting an El Niño all year but Japan’s is the first to declare it." Photograph: NOAA.
* El Nino Outlook from JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, is here. More information on the emerging El Nino from Climate Crocks.
Map credit above: "The tracks of all hurricanes that reached major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher) in the Atlantic Ocean basin from the 2006 through 2013 hurricane seasons." Credit: NOAA.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy. PM thaw. Winds: South 5-10. High: 34
THURSDAY NIGHT: More clouds, fog possible. Low: 29
FRIDAY: Clouds & fog, turning milder. High: 41
SATURDAY: Foggy & gray. Touch of March. Wake-up: 33. High: 49
SUNDAY: Mild and murky. A little PM rain. Wake-up: 45. High: 51
MONDAY: Unsettled, turning colder. Light mix southern MN? Wake-up: 31. High: 35
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, closer to average. Wake-up: 24. High: 31
WEDNESDAY: Peeks of sun. Still quiet. Wake-up: 20. High: near 30
Editorial: Human Nature vs. Global Warming. Humans Are Winning, And That's Bad News. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "You’d almost think the world has no intention of fixing this problem. In which assumption you would be at least partially correct. If the world could fix its greenhouse gas problems painlessly, it would have been done long ago. But this is a problem that — if you address it seriously — would require significant lifestyle changes on the part of every human being living in even modestly developed nations. No politician who wants to keep his or her job is going to do that by preaching sacrifice..."
Graphic credit above: "A rendering of Future Lagos, with city design that works with rising sea levels." Courtesy NLÉ and Zoohaus/Inteligencias Colectivas.