Category Archives: Seasons

Was December’s unusual warmth widespread?

Despite the slight touch of winter on its last morning, December 2019 was an unusually warm month both locally and hemispherically.

Here in Madison, the month averaged 7 degrees above normal, with the highest temperature of the month, 55, occurring on Christmas Day, just one degree shy of the all-time daily record. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

Comments Off on Was December’s unusual warmth widespread?

Why don’t the latest sunrise and earliest sunset match up with the winter solstice?

The winter solstice has the shortest daylight hours of the year and will occur at 10:19 p.m. CST on December 21, 2019.

On that day we have our shortest day and longest night of the year in terms of daylight. It’s the astronomical moment when the sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

Comments Off on Why don’t the latest sunrise and earliest sunset match up with the winter solstice?

How did fall temperatures locally compare with the northern hemisphere?

As we have reported several times over the years, the evidence is clear that over the entire Northern Hemisphere winter temperatures have been systematically warming over the past 70 years.

We base that conclusion on measuring the extent of air with a temperature of 23 or colder at the 850 millibar level, which is located about 1 mile above sea level. Such a measure can equally be made in the autumn months. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

Comments Off on How did fall temperatures locally compare with the northern hemisphere?

What is a polar vortex

The term “polar vortex” was popularized by media outlets in 2014, when the country experienced a brutal January cold snap.

The polar vortex is a band of strong winds, high up in the atmosphere that spins counter-clockwise around the North Pole. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

Comments Off on What is a polar vortex

Did Madison break any snowfall records last month?

As we begin Winter Weather Awareness week in Wisconsin (Nov. 4-8), too many of us probably feel like grizzled veterans already. What an end to the month of October! It was a chilly month overall, with the average temperature ending … Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Seasons

Comments Off on Did Madison break any snowfall records last month?