>A Continent of Contrast

Written by on March 17, 2010 in Rest of Europe with 0 Comments

>From Warmest and Driest on Record to Coldest in 25 Years, how so?

Graphic courtesy of AccuWeather.com

Graphic courtesy of Environment Canada

All of us, weather fans, enthusiasts and indeed those within the profession will all be reflecting on a winter, one of wild storms, severe cold or lack of!
Many of us perhaps who don’t understand the drivers may struggle to fathom how you can see a record warm winter in a place that should be cold and then look further SOUTH and see winter that’s been the coldest since 1984-85.

The continental winter contrast in North America could not be greater. Whilst Canada experienced their Warmest and Driest Winter in recorded history. The USA experienced their Coldest in 25 years, even Mexico endured a cold and snowy winter.

The worst of the cold when comparing with “average” was down across the Southern States with Florida seeing the lowest below normal.
What Happened With the entire Hemispheric Pattern to create this kind of Winter?

Primary Driver: Blame the Record Negative Arctic Oscillation which has ultimately seen a build up of cold, intense and strong enough during it’s positive phase, then flipped POWERFULLY negative. When that happened, all the bottled up cold we saw develop during November and early December where Edmonton endured one of it’s coldest ever lows of -51F all poured southward and warm pools replaced the deep cold over the Arctic…
What caued a record Negative AO in the first place? Volcanic Activity as well as low solar cycle I believe is to blame or at least has a very large hand in all this..
What does a tornado-free February have to do with all this?
Well it’s the first one in recorded history, plus this occured during what would typically be an active Feb period across the south due to the El Nino, it never unfolded as normal because there was too much Arctic air, too far south!! and when you combine the reduction over the last 10 years in global temps, flip a Pacific Ocean back to cold (during an El Nino) and when witnessing extremely low solar activity and a rise in volcanic activity, it’s clear that this kind of winter can and does occur ever once in so many years…
Canada was record cold and snowy, sure, however it wasn’t like everyone was wearing shorts and t-shirts, so lets not get too carried away… Canada’s winter overall still saw extreme cold and snowfalls but it was driven not by an ever warming world but a by-product of a bigger overall signal which shows a pogression towards another era of climate…
To be continued tomorrow, where I shall discuss that though there was cold and lots and lots of snow, we did NOT see EXTREME cold really anywhere in the US this winter, I want to discuss why I believe we didn’t see lows below -40 to -42F!
Thanks for reading.
-Mark

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