Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's hard to set all time cold records in a warming world...

Sou | 11:51 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

In case you missed it, this is from Jeff Masters at Wunderground.com about the cold spell in the USA (my paras and bold italics).

As notable as this week's cold wave was--bringing the coldest air seen since 1996 or 1994 over much of the nation--the event failed to set any monthly or all-time record low minimum temperature records at airports and cooperative observing stations monitored by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

As wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt summed it up for me
"The only significant thing about the cold wave is how long it has been since a cold wave of this force has hit for some portions of the country--18 years, to be specific. Prior to 1996, cold waves of this intensity occurred pretty much every 5-10 years. In the 19th century, they occurred every year or two (since 1835). Something that, unlike the cold wave, is a truly unprecedented is the dry spell in California and Oregon, which is causing unprecedented winter wildfires in Northern California." 
Part of the reason that this week's cold wave did not set any all-time or monthly cold records is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so in a warming climate. As Andrew Freedman of Climate Central wrote in a blog post yesterday,
"While the cold temperatures have been unusual and even deadly, climate data shows that intense cold such as this event is now occurring far less frequently in the continental U.S. than it used to. This is largely related to winter warming trends due to man-made global warming and natural climate variability." 

For example, in Detroit during the 1970s, there were an average of 7.9 nights with temperatures below zero. But this decade, that number has been closer to two nights.


  1. It has been reported as; "an arctic chill so cold that a Chicago zoo brought their polar bear inside".

    Just imagine how cold it would have been had we not been artificially warming the planet.

  2. Message to the media: There are two different ways of looking at the cold - weather and climate.
    From The Climate Reanalyzer http://cci-reanalyzer.org/ there are the air temperature anomaly http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/index_ds.php# and the average air temperature http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/index_ds.php# Ditto for the sea surface temperature anomaly http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/index_ds.php# and the average sea surface temperature http://cci-reanalyzer.org/DailySummary/index_ds.php#

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Gish gallop time, I see. Start at the top: "There has been a 29 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year". Go to


      Look at Figure 2. Look at the blue line for now (early Feb) and tell us how it relates to (a) last year and (b) ensemble of all the data.

      I suggest to Sou that, if you're not willing to discuss this before moving on, she removes your comment and bans you.

    2. PL, this is just a copy-paste of a piece in the Telegraph by Haley Dixon. No need to discuss that again.

    3. That's more obvious then: delete no-value-added gish-gallop copy/pastes.

    4. from September last year.... and one year does not a trend make.....


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