Winter Warm Extremes More Severe than Cold Snaps

The winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 were marked extremes, a recent study from the American Geophysical Union reports. We mostly heard of the cold. More defining, but apparently not as newsworthy, our planet experienced many extreme warm spells in recent winters. The recent research examined daily wintertime temperature extremes since 1948. It also found that “warm extremes were much more severe and widespread than the cold extremes during the northern hemisphere winters of 2009-10 (which featured an extreme snowfall episode on the East Coast dubbed “snowmaggedon”) and 2010-11.”

Natural Climate variation due to North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) explains cyclical cold spells. However,…

the long-term extreme warmth trend was left unexplained,… or, rather, just as one would expect in a period of accelerating global warming.

Kristen Guirguis explains:

“We investigated the relationships between prominent natural climate modes and extreme temperatures, both warm and cold. Natural climate variability explained the cold extremes; the observed warmth was consistent with a long-term warming trend.” As Guirguss is a postdoctoral researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC-San Diego and lead author of the study, which is set to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (a publication of the American Geophysical Union), is telling us this, one must stop to consider this as a well-informed, accurate recent analysis of our planet and it’s patterns.

But, to clarify, here’s more from a piece on Climates Progress, “Last Two Winters’ Warm Extremes More Severe Than Their Cold Snaps, Study Finds, from Scripps climate researcher Alexander Gershunov, a report co-author: “Over the last couple of years, natural variability seemed to produce the cold extremes, while the warm extremes kept trending just as one would expect in a period of accelerating global warming.”

Top Photo Credit: B.G. Johnson.
Bottom Image via Climate Progress/American Geophysical Union

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