Record Warm Winter: What Alarmists Overlook
It was a warm winter, but should we be alarmed?
Meteorological winter is now in the books, and if you live anywhere in the U.S. you won’t be surprised to learn it was a warm one. Virtually every region experienced warmer, and in many cases much warmer, than normal conditions. In fact, persistent intrusions of mild air, promulgated by a super El Niño, pushed Winter ‘15-16 temperatures to their seasonal warmest in at least 121 years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the mean temperature for December, January and February was an impressive 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average, and satellite measurements confirm that February’s warmth dwarfed all previous records. However, that’s not to say it was “America’s year without a winter,” as stipulated in a Washington Post headline.
For example, numerous cities in the Mid Atlantic broke record snowfall during January’s epic blizzard — humorously nicknamed “Snowzilla” — and in February the Boston Globe reported, “Valentine’s Day in Boston was the coldest on record for more than 80 years, as temperatures plunged to levels that could even keep an intrepid Cupid indoors. Sunday morning, the temperature plummeted to minus 9, with a windchill of minus 36, shattering the record by 6 degrees.” That’s a remarkable feat in any winter, but even more so considering the strength of El Niño. And let’s not forget history. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang notes, “The warmth of this winter marked a stunning reversal from the previous year in New England, when it witnessed one of its harshest winters on record.” Extreme temperature swings are more common than we realize. Yet how quickly we forget them…
There’s no question El Niño drove much of this past winter’s warmth. The question, as always, is to what extent. Meteorologist Joe Bastardi stipulates that we’re now in a test period. What comes up must come down, and with La Niña looming, these trends should go the opposite direction in the years ahead. But regardless of what the next few years bring, what we’ll never know conclusively is how today’s trends compare to the past thousands of years. Are we experiencing climate change? You bet. Is it something to be so concerned about that we rearrange the entire economy to combat it? Probably not.
- climate change
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