December 01, 2021

When Melissa and I were watching the news last night I heard a term I do not recall ever hearing before.  The weather person had just gone through the forecast for the coming week, explaining the cold air mass that was dropping temperatures across Canada and the upper states of the US.  This was caused by a high-pressure zone that had settled in Nevada.  The high was keeping the cold air stream far to the north and was allowing the warm southern air to come up from the Gulf.  The result was going to be at least a week of temperatures from 10-15 degrees above normal (40’sF or 10’sC).  Everyone at the station was commenting on how nice it was to have the warm temperatures.  That was when I heard this disclaimer, “But this will not last, because tomorrow we enter into meteorological Winter.”

When I looked online, I found Meteorological reckoning is the method of measuring the seasons used by meteorologists based on “sensible weather patterns” for record keeping purposes.  That means the start of meteorological winter varies with latitude.  Winter is often defined by meteorologists to be the three calendar months with the lowest average temperatures.  This corresponds to the months of December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere, and June, July, and August in the Southern.  Night predominates in the winter season, and in some regions, winter has the highest rate of precipitation and prolonged dampness.  This is the result of permanent snow cover or high precipitation rates coupled with low temperatures, precluding evaporation.  

The article also noted the accumulations of snow and ice commonly associated with meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere are the result of the large land masses that are dominant.  The Southern Hemisphere has a more maritime climate and the relative lack of land south of 40°S makes the winters milder.  That causes the snow and ice to be less common in inhabited regions of the Southern Hemisphere.  In the southern region, snow does occur every year in elevated regions such as the Andes, the Great Dividing Range in Australia, and the mountains of New Zealand, and occurs in the southern Patagonia region of South Argentina.  Not surprisingly, snow occurs year-round in Antarctica.

Thoughts:  While my news team was touting the short-term rise in temperatures, they were discounting the long-term effect of rising temperatures.  Climate experts project that if global emissions continue unchecked the earth’s temperature will rise by 2F (1C) by 2050 and 8F (3.5C) by the year 2100.  The result is extreme weather events during all the meteorological seasons.  This means hurricanes and tornados, floods and droughts, scorching heat and bitter cold.  Natural ranges of plants and animals will shift, and many will become extinct.  While the geological earth will survive and eventually correct the imbalance, it will likely only happen after the removal of the human cause.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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