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Right Opinion

Historic Cold in U.S., Record Snow Across Northern Hemisphere: Winter Arrives Early

Cornwall Alliance · Dec. 2, 2019

By Vijay Jayaraj

If you haven’t heard about the historic snow across the northern hemisphere this winter, hear it now. Yes, winter began early with unusually heavy snow and extraordinary cold.

Many parts of the U.S. recorded historic lows in November, especially during the second week. Media reports confirmed “record-breaking temperatures across the U.S.” Buffalo, New York, broke its highest snowfall record for Nov. 11 with 8.7 inches of snow.

On Nov. 12, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Indianapolis tweeted, “The current temperature is 13 [degrees Fahrenheit] which breaks a 108 year old record low for the city. Old record low was 14 [degrees Fahrenheit] in 1911.”

The Midwest registered over 850 daily temperature records. NWS in Grand Rapids tweeted, “Preliminary numbers from G.R., Lansing, Muskegon, and Kalamazoo indicate this has been a Top 3 coldest first-half of November, competing with 1991 and 1951, with temperatures averaging near 32 degrees! Normally we’re around 41 degrees.”

A similar situation prevailed in Canada. Pearson airport in Toronto recorded 5.5 inches of snow. That was four times higher than the previous record set in 1983. The Weather Network observed that “record January-like cold, bitter wind chill” descended in Ontario. The nation’s capital, Ottawa, registered at least four record-breaking cold days in November.

The northern hemisphere as a whole experienced above-normal snowfall.

The European Space Agency’s Global Snow Monitoring for Climate Research (GlobSnow) quantifies snow levels in terms of snow water equivalent (SWE). SWE is “the amount of liquid water in the snow pack that would be formed if the snow pack was completely melted.”

Data from GlobSnow confirm that snow-mass levels for the past few weeks have been well above the 30-year average (1982–2012).

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the snow extent in the northern hemisphere is at its highest levels in recent decades.

National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) reported that the daily snow extent for November has been at a 14-year high (2005–2019).

If the trend continues, the winter of 2019–2020 could be one of the coldest, and snowiest, in recent decades.

Regardless, we can say with certainty that winter has arrived early this year. Arctic blasts have provided us with record-breaking new lows.

Climate activists are largely silent on the record cold and snow. They seem increasingly out of touch with climate reality.

These record lows may or may not presage long-term changes in climate. They do, however, belie false predictions that winters would become milder due to rapid climate change.

Ecclesiastes is right: There is nothing new under the sun!

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), is a Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

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