Dreaming of a white Christmas

Everyone loves a white Christmas, but if climate change marches on for much longer there could be less and less white during the holiday season down under:

NY Times — A paper released on Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience reports that the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. That is roughly twice as much as scientists previously thought and three times the overall rate of global warming, making central West Antarctica one of the fastest-warming regions on earth.

“The surprises keep coming,” said Andrew J. Monaghan, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who took part in the study. “When you see this type of warming, I think it’s alarming.”Of course, warming in Antarctica is a relative concept. West Antarctica remains an exceedingly cold place, with average annual temperatures in the center of the ice sheet that are nearly 50 degrees Fahrenheit below freezing.


  1. slc1 says

    Mr. Darksyde will wait a long time for a white Christmas in Florida. I spen 2.5 years in Tallahassee and saw nary a flake.

  2. Crudely Wrott says

    I got snowed on at the Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida dog track while working on improvements to that facility back in the mid seventies. Twenty six degrees, 25 mph wind, 96% rh, light snow falling that melted on contact with the ground.

    Coldest I ever got in my life. Had to leave work early due to hypothermic shivering. Even dressed in layers with long handle drawers. Before and since then I have been repeatedly exposed to wind chills of 20-30 below F. Once during a March blizzard in Wyoming, -54F, 60mph gusts, about -120 chill factor. Brutal. But that day in Florida was the worst of them all. No doubt because the air was super saturated with water and was a lovely heat sink to suck the warmth from me. So, yes, it can get cold and nasty in Florida; just ask any citrus grower.

    On topic, it looks like there will be plenty of folks enjoying (or trying to cope with) a white Christmas this year even as far south as Oklahoma and Arkansas.

    Keep in mind that global warming, at least as currently understood, means the average annual temperature for a given area rises, not that each day of a year will be warmer. Also, the distribution of atmospheric water vapor is affected as are wind patterns.

    The type of winter storms that we baby boomers grew up with are still very likely. More extreme winter events are also likely in the same sense that summer droughts, tropical storms and heavy rains can be expected to continue. Along with lots of balmy days with clear skies and mild breezes.

    Climate is changing, there is no question. But you don’t get climate, you get weather. Wherever you go, expect to hear the same cliche when you mention the weather to one of the locals: “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait a few minutes”. They’ve been saying that every place I’ve been for as long as I’ve been going places.

  3. slc1 says

    Re Crudely Wrott @ #2

    It got as cold as 12 degrees F a number of times during my sojourn in Tallahassee. However, even on such nights, it warmed up at least into the upper 40s during the next day.

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