Category Archives: Climate

How severe has this winter been?

Last year we experienced a persistently cold winter (December-January-February) that ended up being the coldest since 1979.

This year has been different. The Midwest Regional Climate Center is experimenting with what they are calling the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI), which incorporates temperature, snowfall and snow depth to rate the severity of winter. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Is the ground temperature changing?

First, let’s consider air temperature.

The Wisconsin Initiative for Climate Change Impacts, or WICCI, analyzed data from 1950 to 2006, a 57-year period. Wisconsin has warmed during this period.

The observed warming since 1950 has been greatest in winter, with an average increase of 2.5 degrees across Wisconsin. Winter temperatures in northwestern Wisconsin have increased by 3.5 to 4.5 degrees. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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How unusual is our roller coaster winter?

It doesn’t take an exceptional attention span to realize that this year’s cold season (starting in November) has been very changeable.

November was 6.1 degrees colder than normal, then December was surprisingly mild (5.8 degrees above normal). As of Thursday — mid-month — January has been 8.5 degrees below normal. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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Are the Great Lakes’ water levels normal?

For the first time in about 25 years, the water level of the all the Great Lakes is above normal. Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are about 5 inches above the long term average.

This ends a 15-year period where lake levels have been below historic averages. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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What kind of winter are we expecting?

Seasonal climate forecasts rely heavily on established relationships between climate and key climate forcing mechanisms, such as El Niño.

On seasonal time scales, the influence on the atmosphere of ocean temperature anomalies such as El Niño or La Niña is probably the single most crucial forecast component. This is especially true for forecasts of Wisconsin winters. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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