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Earth Canada Science

Historic Heat In North America Turns Winter To Summer 618

Posted by samzenpus
from the hotter-than-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A huge, lingering ridge of high pressure over the eastern half of the United States brought summer-like temperatures to North America in March 2012. The warm weather shattered records across the central and eastern United States and much of Canada. From the article: 'Records are not only being broken across the country, they're being broken in unusual ways. Chicago, for example, saw temperatures above 26.6Celsius (80Fahrenheit) every day between March 14-18, breaking records on all five days. For context, the National Weather Service noted that Chicago typically averages only one day in the eighties each in April. And only once in 140 years of weather observations has April produced as many 80Fahrenheit days as this March.'"
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Historic Heat In North America Turns Winter To Summer

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  • by John.P.Jones (601028) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:08PM (#39435293)

    If only we had some sort of theory that could explain this inexplicable change in weather patterns.

    • by scubamage (727538) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:27PM (#39435529)
      I'll tell you about my theory... the day after tomorrow!!!!
    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:53PM (#39435757)

      This warm season actually doesn't have as much to do with Global Warming/Climate Change as it has to do with a double whammy of La Nina and an Arctic Oscillation. The former brought unusually warm weather while the latter kept the colder, arctic air away from us. The combination of the two warming effects gave us a warm, relatively snowless winter.

      This isn't to say that GW/CC isn't real. Just that this winter is explained by other forces at play.

    • by black3d (1648913) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:43PM (#39436217)

      Oh come on. Nobody argues with climate change. The debate is over MAN-MADE climate change. The climate has changed dozens of times through heating and cooling periods throughout history. This isn't even questioned.. except by some young-earther's. :\

    • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @11:02PM (#39436833)
      you mean the *fact* of La Nina and arctic oscillation on top of each other, which has happened many, many times in history? This isn't global warming/climate change, sorry pal
  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:11PM (#39435337)

    Finally all of those CFC's I've been spraying have paid off. Its too bitter cold in Chicago anyway.

  • by mr_exit (216086) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:20PM (#39435433) Homepage

    And in the southern Hemisphere, We've had one of the coldest and wettest summers on record in New Zealand.

    But you only hear about climate change when people are hot.....

  • by Eponymous Hero (2090636) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:21PM (#39435445)
    you can all blame the ring leader of the Weather Underground, Punxsutawney Phil, for spreading propaganda that would deceive you into thinking winter was staying another 6 weeks. it's eco-psycho-terrorism! in our soil!
  • Not everywhere (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lije Baley (88936) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:22PM (#39435459)

    It's effing cold in Seattle. Snowing every other day it seems. I want to be warm and dry.

    • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @10:19PM (#39436501) Journal

      ...and you live in Seattle?

      A few years ago, I spent a week in Seattle in July. The weather was great--sunny and warm. Everyone was talking about how I picked a great week to visit. I told them I didn't notice it because we'd had the same kind of weather for the last 4 months in Southern California.

      They seemed to get upset by that. I don't know why...

  • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:25PM (#39435493)

    Back in October, I was writing 'HAPPY HALLOWEEN!' in the snow, having a chuckle. I stopped laughing when a storm blew in so fierce, so heavy, that it took out the entire Western MA. area's electricity. We were without power for a week, almost exactly. The snow was already heavy, but the fact that trees still had leaves on their branches added to the weight. Entire limbs--or just entire trees were everywhere. It was a spooky time, and it's only getting spookier. I should NOT be sweltering at work while wearing shorts, which is how it went yesterday. Anyone saying "so what, it's a heatwave" doesn't come from New England. We're used to crazy-assed weather, but this has got us all stumped.

  • by jrroche (1937546) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:44PM (#39435677)
    I was surprised, for a minute, to see all these Slashdotters sarcastically pretending this is proof of global climate change, or forgoing the sarcasm and outright denying it entirely. Then I remembered that, despite Slashdot readers being generally accepting of, and, in many cases, even excited about science, they also tend to be generally libertarian in their politics, which means denying ideas widely held by entire scientific and academic communities if it might lead to more gub'mint.
  • by uncadonna (85026) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (sibotm)> on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @08:52PM (#39435741) Homepage Journal

    If Slashdot covering a weather story isn't a climate-scale outlier, I don't know what is.

    Here's another strange fact: on March 18 the low temperature in Rochester MN exceeded [planet3.org] the previous record high for that date.

    I'm working on an essay linking this event to anthropogenic climate change ("global warming") which will appear on Planet3.0 [planet3.org].

    (For what it's worth I might as well submit a Slashdot story when it's up. Hose my host - see if I care.)

  • by quax (19371) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:21PM (#39436019)

    Means extreme weather patterns become more likely. This includes more extreme temp fluctuations while the global overall mean just inches by a fraction of a degree per year.

    All well established and advertised for the last twenty years. People pointing to super cold, wet winter in NZ are just emphasizing this, while kidding themselves into thinking it somehow contradicts the climate change trend.

    I'm quite certain that once the future history of global warming will be written it'll emphasize that it shows humanity at it's smartest and most stupid at the same time.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:30PM (#39436081)

    At least it seems to me that way.

    When I was young, we had a mild Spring from about March to about May, a fairly hot and mostly dry summer between June and August, wet, foggy and generally unpleasant Autumn from September to November and fairly cold and snowy winters from December to February. That was pretty reliable and generally quite ok.

    Today we have freeze-your-toes-to-the-floor-when-you-dare-to-get-up Winters from about November to March and then it changes within a week or so to sweltering-hot-unbearable-heat from April to September, with October being the joker for really funky, crazy weather where it snows in the morning, the sun frying your brain during noon and hail hitting you on your way home from work.

    So yes, I can somehow see a change in the climate. It gets more extreme and crazier. Not necessarily hotter. Just way less pleasant in either way.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:35PM (#39436153) Homepage

    By definition, this is "weather", not "climate", it only lasts a week.

    Climate change is defined by decades at a very minimum. Climate change is this:

    http://www.ec.gc.ca/adsc-cmda/default.asp?lang=en&n=8C03D32A-1 [ec.gc.ca]

    Environment Canada takes readings every day, in hundreds of locations outside urban heat islands, and averages them across a whole season to get an average temperature. And then it graphs that number for every year since 1945. While even that graph swings wildly up and down from year to year and even has warmer and colder decades, the regression across almost 70 years shows a steady upward trend. It's most dramatic for our winter (2.8C) but all the seasons have shown statistically significant increases.

    I was a huge skeptic until about 2004, but this and several papers I managed to puzzle my way through, plus the book "The Ice Chronicles", finally brought me around by about 2006.

    Yes, there are Snowmaggedons. And there are these. And when you add them all up, the warmer spells are getting a little more frequent and the colder spells a little less so. Over decades. That's climate.

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