Yin-Yang WinterMarch 29th, 2012 | Bill Kirk
Guest Blogger: International Business Meteorologist Krissy Klinger
Snow, ice, and bitter cold – These are some of the words that conjure up thoughts of winter. As anyone that resides in the Central or Eastern United States over the past 3 months can surely tell you, the winter of 2011-2012 was anything but….well…. winter. While many are ready to cry “Global Warming” as they grill outside and see flowers bloom about a month earlier than usual, the one thing that is overlooked is the “Global” in Global Warming. Looking globally, this past winter paints an entirely different picture from the mild winter experienced in the Central and Eastern U.S.
The beginning of what turned out to be one of the coldest winters in the past 20 years for parts of Asia, including China, started in December 2011 with temperatures below normal. However, the greatest change to below normal temperatures across Asia was in the Middle East where temperatures were the 4th coldest in 20 years. The cold turned deadly in northern India where over 100 people died due to cold weather. Looking elsewhere across the globe, a large part of Africa and Greenland also saw temperatures dip below normal for December.
January was another cold month for a large portion of Asia with especially cold trends in northern Asia. But the largest continent on Earth wasn’t the only place feeling the chill. Closer to the U.S., there was a fair amount of winter weather in the West and Alaska. Harsh winter storms lashed the Northwestern U.S. and brought heavy snow and the most severe freezing rain event since 1996 in Seattle, WA. Meanwhile, towns in Alaska were buried under feet of snow, including Cordova where 18 FEET of snow fell from November 2011 to January 2012. January was the coldest in 20 years for Alaska as a whole.
A brutal and extended period of cold, snowy weather blasted Europe starting in late January and continuing into mid-February. Temperatures got as low as -40F in some areas and the cold was so intense and persistent that even parts of the Danube River, a vital route for commerce, froze over for the first time in 25 years. In fact, this was the worst outbreak of severe cold and snow in Europe in at least 26 years. The weather directly claimed over 650 lives and cut off thousands of rural villages for more than a week. Below normal temperatures extended all the way from Europe and northern Africa through Asia and all the way to Japan.
While part of the globe was basking in an abnormally mild winter, another part was being pummeled by harsh cold and snow ; this is what I like to call a Yin-Yang Winter. The cold, snowy weather (yin) would not exist without very warm temperatures and less snow (yang) elsewhere. So you can rest-assured that the whacky weather is not a sign of the apocalypse, but merely a part of the Earth’s never-ending balancing act.
blog comments powered by Disqus