Monday, January 11, 2010

winter is really extra cold

The other day we had one inch of snow that was powdery and didn't stick together because it is so cold here this winter. I noticed that the river was freezing over last week when I drove out to VA over the 14th St. bridge and thought that was unusual to see. This week local news shows us how cold DC really is by having a live reporter standing next to the frozen river front. They warn viewers not to venture onto icy river, lakes or other bodies of water because it doesn't freeze evenly and people are dying from hypothermia when they do break through. Last night a discussion ensued with my partner Keith about how kids would know to stay off ice. He says his mom always warned him to stay away from the icy water. I said we haven't had this much cold in so long parents might not have had any reason to warn kids to stay off frozen water until this year. Also on the local news the scene of rescue workers practicing how to rescue a person fallen trough the river ice was a reminder it isn't safe to walk on the river.
Late Sunday night CNN did a report about the extra cold weather this year. It was pretty exciting to get the first real meteorological explanation for all this cold weather around the northern hemisphere. A very large strong high pressure system over the Arctic is so strong that it has pushed the low pressure systems in the region we live in with the cold air down into the wind stream over lower latitudes. Vast areas of snow that has been dumped on all these unusually cold regions aren't warming up when the clouds leave due to the reflection of solar energy off the surface of the white snow covered land. Hopefully this is going to ease up later this week for a little bit more melting.
While writing I went to look up some more information and found a good report posted today on a Capital Weather Gang blog with some great NASA maps of average cold over the last month compared to the last ten winters. The cold in Europe looks really just like here only they got snow and wind with the extra cold and haven't had a break yet. The blog and CNN meteorologists both talked about the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and how this changes. This winter the CNN experts said AO was at a 60 year low. However now I am reading on Andrew Freedman's blog that the air in the Arctic is actually warmer this year Greenland has rain and unseasonably warm weather! My pal Jonny Jamtjord says in his arctic circle town Tormøs, Norway the temperatures are about 28ºC warmer than in the southern Norwegian capitol town of Oslo where it is extra cold today! In Tormøs they have darkness for several months too and he sent me a link to a slide show of what they see this time of year. So as cold as it is here in DC there are other areas that are experiencing the opposite extra warm weather. All of central Europe is very cold Russia and parts of northern China where they still use manpower to clear the roads with shovels and houses are colpasing from the heavy snowfall. We do live in a united world now more than ever. I suggest we enjoy the cold because the specialists are also predicting a hotter than usual year for 2010 after we get past our current cold spell.

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