Category Archives: Seasons

What is the status of sea ice around Antarctica?

The Southern Ocean around Antarctica freezes to form sea ice every year. Scientists use observations from satellites to monitor the sea ice extent throughout the year.

Sea ice melt in Antarctica is a seasonal occurrence that usually begins in September (the end of Southern Hemisphere winter) and continues into February (end of Southern Hemisphere summer). As the pole warms during summer, the sea ice around the continent breaks up and melts. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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How wild a January are we having?

Here we are halfway through the month of January, and it has been remarkably mild for those of us in southern Wisconsin.

Through Saturday, January has been 10.3 degrees above normal in Madison and 10.6 degrees above normal in Milwaukee. In fact, since Christmas Day, the temperature in Madison has averaged just shy of 9 degrees (8.93 degrees) above normal in what is usually one of the colder stretches of the year. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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How remarkable was the recent winter storm?

The recent winter storm that affected large portions of the United States just days before the Christmas holiday was remarkable in a number of dimensions.

It was an example of a “bomb cyclone” which simply means that the rate at which its central pressure dropped — about 2.5% in a single day — was extremely unusual. Even though a 2.5% change in central pressure does not sound like very much, it was responsible for revving up the extreme winds that brought wind chills into the minus 30s and ground blizzard conditions to a large portion of the Great Lakes states on Dec. 23. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Seasons, Severe Weather

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Was our recent snowfall typical for a Madison winter?

Our first substantial snowfall of the season visited Madison on Friday morning as a period of moderate to heavy snow fell from around 7 to 9:45 a.m.

In the end, we accumulated 4.4 inches of heavy wet snow timed perfectly to snarl the morning commute. Continue reading

Category: Climate, Meteorology, Seasons

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What does a warm fall portend about winter?

Most of the weather experts we know have rated this fall’s weather as reasonably benign in our region. The past month’s average temperature here in Madison was 1.9 degrees above normal, which rounded out a fall season (September through November) … Continue reading

Category: Climate, Seasons

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