It’s raining in February!

I was awakened this morning by the heavy patter of raindrops on my house. This cannot be. This is against the natural order. January and February are our coldest months, we simply do not get liquid water falling out of the sky in midwinter. I looked, and it’s +1°C out there! Unthinkable! Inconceivable!

Now I’m wondering, if we melt all the icecaps and glaciers, will we get enough sea water rise to refill the great inland sea of North America? If so, I could pretend I’ve moved back to Seattle.


  1. prae says

    Here in Germany, we had one week of winter, about a month ago. It went below 0°C, snow fell, and actually stayed on the ground. Then it was over, now we have spring. Sure, it snowed a few days ago, but the snow melted right away in the warmth. Now it’s just somewhat cool outside, with occasional rain. So yeah, definitely a hoax, this global warming…

  2. tomhuld says

    When Greenland and the Antarctic melt the seas will rise 60m. Morris is about 330m elevation so you will (un)fortunately still be quite far inland, though you will be a bit closer to the famous beach resorts of Hudson Bay.

    I’m bored at work, so I made a little map of North America at 60m sea level rise. I believe there are some infamous climate change denialists from Florida.

  3. brucej says

    it was 80F yesterday here in Southern AZ, we’re expected to hit 90F within a week. We’re running temps 20F higher than normal this month and last month. Damn those climate scientist hoaxers!

  4. says

    It’s been raining here, too. Been like that for the last several winters, often followed by 3 months of rain, rather than any sort of Spring. Don’t know if we’ll get the “oh, we’re in Seattle” thing this year, but we’ve had very little snow, again. Bad news for the water table.

  5. springa73 says

    In Massachusetts, it’s not that uncommon to go above freezing sometimes in February, but it was unusual a couple of days ago when we got heavy rain accompanied by temperatures as high as 55 Fahrenheit (about 12 Celsius). Three days before that, it had dropped as low as -10 Fahrenheit (-23 Celsius). Last night, it was about 18 Fahrenheit (-7.7 Celsius). So, it’s been all over the place the last week.

  6. says

    #4: Dang. We only lose parts of Texas, Louisiana, and most of Florida? And most of our coastal cities. This does not give me my beachfront property.

    What if we factor in massive fracking causing huge earthquakes and collapse of underground aquifers and the subsidence of the entire midwest? Would that help?

  7. tomhuld says

    #8: I’m not a geologist so I can’t tell, but there seem to be a lot people eager to do the experiment.

  8. sundiver says

    Somewhat OT, but I’ve had this nagging question in the back of my mind for a while. Should the Antarctic icecap melt, would the ensuing isostatic rebound of the continent add anything to sea-level rise?

  9. numerobis says

    sundiver@11: I doubt it’ll do much: if the ground is moving up on the Antarctic continent, where’s that ground coming from? The surrounding ocean. Isostatic rebound means southern England is sinking whereas northern England is rising — locally there are big effects, but globally the effects cancel out. It’s not exactly zero, but IIUC it’s net a negative feedback because glaciers are more often grounded on land above sea level and surrounded by ocean than vice versa.

    Another effect: Glaciers don’t just have weight to push down on the ground, they also have mass. Enough that the polar ice sheets suck the ocean polewards just by gravity. When they melt, the poles get less massive, so the ocean flows back towards the equator. This effect lowers sea level at the poles and increases it at the equator, without much change at mid-latitudes.

    So the equator sees a double whammy: water that melted off the glacier, plus water that was getting sucked polewards and no longer is.

    tomhuld@4: nice map. I am surprised it’s so little — I expected a lot more of the Mississippi and Saint Lawrence valleys to flood, so much so I briefly wondered if you’d mixed meters and feet. But looking at it, Cornwall ON is the end of the flood on the Saint Lawrence, and it’s at 64m elevation, so it definitely checks out.

  10. Rich Woods says

    @tomhuld #4:

    Nice! I just did the same for the UK and found that I go from being 30 miles inland to having just a quarter-mile stroll to the beach. (Well, I say beach, but it looks more like an atoll of out-of-town supermarkets.)

    If anyone wants to flood their own home, here you go:

  11. tbtabby says

    I’m in Illinois, and to my great delight, we actually got highs over 60 today! Sadly, they also came with some high winds that make reading outside difficult. I’m just glad that WInter doesn’t have me under house arrest anymore.

  12. tomhuld says

    #13: I’m from Denmark originally, which will be pretty much all gone. I tried the link, scary.

  13. Thomathy, Mandatory Long-Form Homo says

    I’m disappointed that Southern Ontario doesn’t get any more beaches, but I do assume that the weather will be warmer. I won’t exactly miss Florida, given that there will be tropical-like beaches nearer to me.

    This winter has been particularly bizarre. It’s barely been cold here in Toronto and it’s snowed maybe twice. Only the most recent snowfall actually managed to leave anything on the ground for more than a few days. It’s rained more often than snowed and we’ve had more days around 0 than -10. I’m not complaining about this though. Last winter was colder than normal. I could easily go a lifetime without having to brave -30 weather almost everyday for a third of a year.

  14. numerobis says

    Thomathy@17: I’m complaining mightily. I like skiing!

    Rich woods@13; excellent map. I flood at 45m; my sister a few blocks over can handle 60m.

    I wonder how the Bay of Fundy and other areas with freakishly high tides will react to sea level rise. The tides are due to good timing; increasing the area of the bay will tweak that. The Bay of Fundy in particular doesn’t need to rise much to cut through the isthmus that links Nova Scotia to the mainland — and then the tides could come in from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence rather than the Gulf of Maine.

  15. unclefrogy says

    out here in socal we have not had much rain but enough heat to get the wisteria to start seriously budding 6 weeks early.
    uncle frogy

  16. says

    It topped 70 in Denver yesterday. Which is bad enough, but after dipping a bit, it’s going to get back up in that range next weekend.

    Another once-promising ski season ruined.

  17. Rich Woods says

    @numerobis #19:

    I wonder how the Bay of Fundy and other areas with freakishly high tides will react to sea level rise.

    That’s a very good point. I live comfortably inland and uphill of the sharp end of the second highest tidal range in the world. Even miles inland it produces pleasing but manageable river spectacles like the Severn Bore. As it stands, the tide gets focussed up the Bristol Channel to do that. Add 60m to the sea level and the sea extends 60km further inland than at present, but the geography shows that the channel effect is still going to be there. It looks like I should start gathering sandbags…

  18. numerobis says

    It’ll be a few generations before we get 60m, so you should be fine. I might live to see 2-3 meters, depending on medical advances.

  19. Rich Woods says

    @numerobis #23:

    Yeah, but as all those beaches get washed away the price of sandbags is bound to rise. I’m going to start stockpiling now, so that I have a valuable legacy to pass on to my heirs.

    Or I could just spend the money now on moving to a house right up on the edge of the Cotswolds. Then I can spend my final years looking down upon the hapless majority and watching the slow-motion disaster unfold.

    Shit. I’m going to need a Zombie Apocalypse level of defences, aren’t I?

  20. says

    Got up over 60 in Illinois today, with 45 mph wind gusts. There should be a foot of snow on the ground. This is messed up, but sea level would have to come up almost 900 feet to fill this area. That can’t happen, right? Right? . (Nervous chuckle)

  21. numerobis says

    @Rich Woods: I recommend you buy some nice, isolated land in the Canadian Arctic, grounded on bedrock. Import a hundred or two acres of top soil, and you’ll have a nice little homestead.

  22. blf says

    It’s rained a bit this winter but it seems less than desirable, I wonder if we’ll have water shortage problems this summer. (I’m in Southern France.) I have not checked the data or historical records. Right now the Mistral is blowing (albeit as I type it is fairly calm), making it feel much cooler than it probably is. But not cool enough to prevent outdoor dining or a few hardy (albeit most seemed to be mostly-clothed) individuals on the beach.

    As the front door to the lair is perhaps all of 1m above local sea level, in principle even a quite trivial but sustained rise is a problem… for most of the village. The mildly deranged penguin suggested “solving” the looming problem by installing a massive drain, with the egress in the USAian thugs’s (RNC’s) headquarters. However, it was pointed out those eejits would respond — once it is explained to them what “egress” means — by renaming “french fries” to “drill, baby, drill coal fries”, declare there is no problem, propose a ban on “France”-speakers, and noticeably avoid doing anything ground in Reality and Logic, or different from what Faux & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited order, so she is reconsidering…

  23. hunter says

    It was 65 yesterday in Chicago. It’s in the low 50s right now, and sunny.

    We haven’t had that much snow this winter, but we’ve had rain.

  24. nahuati says

    While it is raining in some places, Idaho was in the news for producing some awesome snowballs up to 18 inches high.
    ‘Those are some pretty big rollers’

    Thousands of snowballs rolled in a flat central Idaho field look like the work of hundreds of ambitious kids — except there are no human tracks.

    A rare weather event caused the spontaneous snowballs at the Nature Conservancy’s Silver Creek Preserve and surrounding fields near the tiny town of Picabo.