Category Archives: Seasons
On more than one occasion in this column we have commented on the areal extent of air colder than 23 degrees about 1 mile above the ground as a measure of the extremity of winter.
In the middle of January, about 68 million square kilometers of the Northern Hemisphere are covered by air that cold at that level. Between about July 5 and July 20 that area shrinks to zero, and the complete absence of such air lasts only a very few days. Continue reading
While we all contended with the remarkable and dangerous smoke in the sky this past week, we also wrapped up a record dry spell in Madison’s history.
The 61 days of May and June 2023 were the driest May and June ever, with a paltry 2.01 inches of total precipitation falling. The next closest rival on this ignominious list occurred in May and June 1992, when only 2.65 inches of rain fell during the two months. Individually, May and June were the sixth-driest May and June in Madison’s history, suggesting how rare it is for both of them to be so void of precipitation. Continue reading
The just completed month of May was quite unusual in southern Wisconsin this year.
First, it was a bit cooler than normal, with the average temperature ending up 0.6 degrees below normal. Dryness over central and western Canada brought large wildfires to those areas much earlier than normal this year, and the smoke from those fires gave us a number of orangey sunrises and sunsets this past month, which are more normal in July and August. Continue reading
Though it now seems to be fully in swing, the spring has sure seemed delayed in coming this year in southern Wisconsin. This made us wonder if there might be a more refined, and local, way to think about the calendar-day boundaries of the seasons.
In research undertaken to write a recent column, we catalogued Madison’s record high and low temperature data for each calendar day employing data that went back to 1939. An interesting partition of the full year resulted from this simple analysis. Continue reading