Anomalies Anomalous

Residents of Florida might have noticed, they had a particularly cold winter.

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). …

Cold comfort: Canada’s record-smashing mildness | UCAR

Five to ten degrees difference over an entire month is pretty impressive. But how about 38 degrees? Now THAT’S an anomaly.

What really jumps out, though, is a blob of green, yellow, orange, and red covering a major swath of northern and eastern Canada. The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month.

To put this picture into even sharper focus, let’s take a look at Coral Harbour, located at the northwest corner of Hudson Bay in the province of Nunavut. On a typical mid-January day, the town drops to a low of –34°C (–29.2°F) and reaches a high of just -26°C (–14.8°F). Compare that to what Coral Harbour actually experienced in the first twelve days of January 2011 …

  • After New Year’s Day, the town went 11 days without getting down to its average daily high.
  • On the 6th of the month, the low temperature was –3.7°C (25.3°F). That’s a remarkable 30°C (54°F) above average.
  • On both the 5th and 6th, Coral Harbor inched above the freezing mark. Before this year, temperatures above 0°C (32°F) had never been recorded in the entire three months of January, February, and March.

Cold comfort: Canada’s record-smashing mildness | UCAR

Of course, almost nobody lives there, and whoever does, does not have access to pundits to complain to.

And why this very anomalous anomaly? Jeff Master’s explains:

Arctic sea ice extent for January 2011 was the lowest on record for the month, and marked the second consecutive month a record low has been set, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Most of the missing ice was concentrated along the shores of Northeast Canada and Western Greenland. Relative to the 1979 – 2000 average, the missing ice area was about twice the size of Texas, or about 60% of the size of the Mediterranean Sea. …

The late freeze-up contributed to record warm winter temperatures across much of the Canadian Arctic in December and January.

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground

The Arctic is shuddering, lurching away from the predictable state on which, as we are discovering, we have come to rely. See Hot Arctic, Cold Continent and Albedo Be Going, Albedo Be Gone.

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