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Cold comfort: Canada’s record-smashing mildness

January 27, 2011

Full Article and map at http://www2.ucar.edu/currents/cold-comfort-canadas-record-smashing-mildness

By Bob Henson

Some fascinating weather has unfolded across the Northern Hemisphere over the last month, but you may have only heard about part of it. The media dutifully reported on the heavy snow that battered the mid-Atlantic and New England states in late December. It was also the United Kingdom’s coldest December in at least the last century. Meanwhile, the sparsely populated Canadian Arctic basked in near-unprecedented mildness.

It’s the second chapter of a tale that began a year ago, when Canada as a whole saw the warmest and driest winter in its history.  Much of the blame went to El Niño, which typically produces warmer-than-average weather across Canada.  So far, so good—but similar things are happening this winter, even with a La Niña now at the helm.

Just how mild has it been?  The map at right shows departures from average surface temperatures for the period from 17 December 2010 to 15 January 2011, as calculated by NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory.  The blue blip along the southeast U.S. coast indicates readings between 3°C and 6°C (5.4–10.8°F) below average for the 30-day period as a whole. That’s noteworthy—and in fact, it was the coldest December in more than a century of record-keeping across south Florida (see PDF summary). Blue also shows up across the UK, where December averaged 5.2°C (9.4°F) below normal.

Full Article at http://www2.ucar.edu/currents/cold-comfort-canadas-record-smashing-mildness

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