What Passes For Snow, December 2015
Posted on December 31, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 30 Comments
Here it is: A light dusting in our forward landscaping area. Krissy and I are debating whether or not this qualifies as actual snow, on account that on the actual lawn, driveway and walkways, there’s not a single scrap of snow, i.e., it didn’t stick anywhere, nor will it, as it’s supposed to get over freezing this afternoon. Verdict: Meh. Go home, December, you are drunk.
I do believe this is the first December I’ve been in Ohio where there has been no snow to talk of, hasty last-minute pseudo-dustings not withstanding. The December weather nationwide has been weirdly enough that it’s made even climate change deniers delightfully defensive; I had a few yell “it’s weather not climate!” in desperation at me on Twitter before I muted their silly asses. It’s certainly true that one weird December does not climate make. I also understand that it’s been something like sixty or seventy degrees warmer at the north pole than it usually is and that 2015 is the warmest year humans have recorded on the planet, and that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years ever recorded have been this century. So I feel that climate change deniers have every right to feel defensive right about now.
Not that, on a purely personal micro scale, I minded the warm December at all; I’m California born-and-bred and grew up in a world where 72 and sunny on Christmas was the norm. I’m delighted to have gotten entirely through December without once having to haul out my winter coat. But then again on Athena’s birthday we had an actual tornado warning here in my hometown and not too far away people’s barns were spread across their neighbors’ fields because of those tornado warning winds. Weird warm December weather is not all standing in your yard in December with a t-shirt.
Predicted weather for the first week of January: Mostly high 30s and low 40s and no snow expected. If we get through January without snow I’m gonna maybe start freaking out.
It’s depressing. Warm, muggy weather and darkness at 4 in the afternoon. It’s just the worst of both worlds.
I do have an urge to look up all those commentators and politicians who would take any blizzard, or indeed any snowfall, as evidence that climate change ain’t a thing.
In the news I see that the north pole will get above freezing at this time of year for only the second time ever recorded. The pole was at mid-summer temps and warmer than some of the US midwest. The warmest years on record are all very recent. Yet climate change deniers still exist somehow.
While I was delighted to fly into Akron-Canton with no weather issues this year (I’m so over driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike) the trends are not good.
And we in the UK have just had some of the heaviest rainfall ever in December, with resulting severe floods. Turbulence and more rain both go with climate change …
I thought that I’d get through December without any snow, but we had our first big fall a couple of days ago. Last year, we had no snow until late January and then we got walloped with the worst winter for a long time compressed into six hellish weeks. I’ll take a normal snow amount any day.
I’m pretty sure that climate change deniers will never be persuaded. They’re trying so hard to ignore all the facts, stats, and trends that there’s no room for reality to intrude.
You know, you can at least get snow on your website… (at least until Januar 4th 2016)
“WP Admin”, then Settings->General, scroll down a bit until you get the checkbox that says “Show falling snow on my blog until January 4th.”, check that checkbox and click on “Save changes”.
It went above freezing in the Arctic circle. We’ve got one of the largest El Niños on record, historic flooding across several states…
But oh yeah, it’s just weather.
It is horribly warm here in my part of Scotland too. And the damp, I mean I know Scotland-=rain, but even for us… Warm and wet is not a good combination even here. I’m hoping for some sharp frosts in January over February just to try and get things back on kilter. I don’t see how anyone can deny climate change in this day and age, when even big oil has conceded the reality of it (and that they’ve been concealing that reality for years too), and still have a straight face when doing so.
We finally got a few inches of snow three days after Christmas here in central Vermont. But it’s only enough to sort of cover the landscape and it already looks dirty, partially because we are having a drippy kind of grey day. I say if this is the best you can do, why bother?
Although, now that I look closely there is some snow sticking to the upper branches of a stand of pine trees not too far from the house. (at least I think they are pine, could be fir, I supposed. I used to know how to tell the difference.) The snow on the branches IS pretty. But it won’t last. Bah, humbug.
I’m California born and bred, myself. But somehow the magic of snow at Christmas invaded my soul quite young in life and I yearn for it. Silly me. Soon there won’t even be snow at the North Pole for Christmas.
We’re told to expect above freezing across southern Saskatchewan for New Years day. That’s about 20 Celsius degrees (somewhat more than 35 Fahrenheitings) above what’s purportedly average, and 30 above what’s normal. I’m also casting about for the people who have in past said, “Hey, I’M cold, therefore….”
@ crypticmirror: Please get your weather straightened out before I arrive in Scotland in March. I’m planning for raw, damp and windy. If it turns out to be warm and sunny I will not have any of the correct clothing. I much appreciate your cooperation on this matter…
You have the very tools required to determine if it’s an official snowfall: I’ve heard meteorologists my entire life say “It’s snow if it’s deep enough to capture the imprint of a cat’s paw.” Now put those Scamperbeasts work!
There will be no El nino – we replaced the roof of a rental unit in anticipation of lots of rain, so of course California will be bone dry…
(I hope we get rain to stop the state setting even more on fire, but I am not optimistic)
@RJ Brown: +1. If only because seeing the scamperbeasts encounter snow for the first time could be hilarious.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s ironic that the deniers are now co-opting the “it’s weather not climate” explanation for their defense?
The Great Climate Change Hoax doing its imaginary damage.
As I told a few climate deniers I know:
False opinion has painful consequences. The truth will out and it will be so overwhelming that it will shatter even your willful blindness.
We actually had a fairly normal December, in terms of weather in Northern CA this year. Some rain, some sun, lows in the 30’s, highs in the 50s. Last year was the anomaly. It was sunny and 70 almost every day in December and January.
I laugh at the El Niño predictions. It’s not like that’s a guarantee. There’s a correlation between El Niño years and more rain. Sometimes lots more rain, but sometimes less than normal.
On the other hand, we’ve had the wettest December on record here in Western Oregon thanks to an El Nino likely augmented by climate change, along with some serious flooding (though not at the apocalyptic levels seen elsewhere). Climate changes happens whether people deny it or not.
Speaking of the extreme warmth in the eastern half of the USA (and the north pole) where’s that Senator from Oklahoma now who (in)famously brought a snowball to the floor of the Senate last winter to prove there was no such thing as climate change?
I lived in Akron for 25 years and Chicago for the last 30, and this San Francisco weather feels UNNATURAL to me. I haven’t even gotten my snow boots out of their box yet. We had that crazy blizzard a few years ago, but I remember those deep snows being a regular thing. I’ve read about this SF future for years; it is alarming to be living it.
I’m counting myself lucky that the significant flooding we’ve had isn’t full on catastrophic.I do not care for tornado weather. I blame the Christmas grumpiness of the family on the unseasonable weather.
@Kate George. Personally, I’d pack ready for anything. Our weather is famously contradictory, if there is one outcome you fail to pack for then it will find it. It is suspiciously personal that way. In March 2012 we had temps of 23 Celsius and unbroken sunshine; in March 2013 we had temps which struggled to get above 0 Celsius even in daytime. So, good luck.
That photo: I think I’ve seen more white stuff on a powdered donut.
[Deleted because Scorpius, go be a condescending climate change denier somewhere else. I don’t have time for your tiresome shit right now – JS]
@Not the Reddit Chris S.: Hmmm, we’re getting rain on this end of California, and very welcome it is, too. I do wonder why we even have anything left to burn.
Here’s what passes for snow here in Upstate South Carolina. Mind you, this river isn’t usually this turbulently turgid. :O
Meanwhile, we’ve had the closest to normal winter we’ve had in a while. More rain even than usual, and cold enough that it’s snowpack in the mountains. But what we’re seeing from your maps has been terrifying.
Here in the south-west of Western Australia, we’re having what I tend to think of as a pretty normal summer so far. According to the stuff from the Bureau of Meteorology, this year’s December average maximum was a bit higher than the historical average – we had 4 days this year where the temperature at the Perth Airport monitoring station climbed above 100F (or about 38C). The average minimum temperature was definitely higher… so the days aren’t necessarily getting hotter, but the nights aren’t cooling down as much as they used to. Then again, apparently the south-west of WA hit a crucial climate trigger point back in the late 1970s, and since then we’ve been experiencing climate change as it happens. In our case – less rain every winter, to the point where our water resources are severely stressed every year. Unfortunately, successive state governments have decided not to actually tackle the problem of long-term water security for the south-west region, because it’s Too Hard, which means each government in turn inherits a harder problem. (As is the way of governments).
(By the bye, based on my Canbrrra experience, I’d define what you have there as “persistent heavy frost”).
In contrast, the Southwest is buried. Wednesday our high temperature was lower than the North Pole’s and it’s powder skiing in Arizona.
You’re welcome to all of the Spokane snow I shoveled out of my driveway last week. It’s very clingy and all of the trees around here are flocked with it. Unfortunately the power lines are flocked too, so a local power company got helicopters to fly over the lines and knock the snow off with their rotor wash.
But maybe El Nino will kick in one of these days…we just saw the sun for the first time in a while!