Friday, February 27, 2015

Arctic warms; Philly cools

While cold air poured into North America, frozen northland wasn't so frozen.

Arctic warms; Philly cools

Temperatures over the Arctic Ocean between Norway and the North Pole were about 11 degrees above normal in February, according to the NASA satellite data released this afternoon.

Meanwhile, parts of North America, including Philadelphia, where official readings for the month were 3.6 degrees below normal, shivered.

As we’ve said, global warming is not a spectator sport, and month-to-month and inter-annual changes generally have been incremental.

Given the small degree of changes, it makes sense that if one part of the planet is unusually cold, it must be unusually warm somewhere else.

Overall global temperatures were 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit  above the 30-year “normals,” according to John Christy at the University of Alabama, a keeper of the satellite data.

That deviation isn’t much different from January’s 0.30.

Overall, he said, the warming trend in the satellite dataset, dating to November 1978, is about 0.25 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

That is similar to the rate calculated by the National Climate Data Center's analysis of surface stations. The NCDC records date to 1880, and the annual change in either direction has never exceeded 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Locally, we are about to experience a warming trend of our own. After a cold day tomorrow, with temperatures struggling to get past freezing, a march to normality begins.

Temperatures are heading in to the low 50s by Saturday.

Storm rumors are swirling for next week, but if we take them too seriously now, the winter of 2013-14 has taught us nothing.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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