The Difference a Day Makes

The top picture here is from yesterday, roughly at 10:30 am, and the second picture here is today, just a bit after noon. By this evening all that snow will be gone because it’s currently 48 and we’ll get up to 57. As a reminder, a couple of days ago we were in negative temperatures. Winter has become this very weird season around these parts. Mind you, I personally prefer 57 to -8. By rather a lot. I’m not entirely sure we’re meant to have 65 degree temperature swings this quickly, however. Just another thing for us to come to terms with.

21 Comments on “The Difference a Day Makes”

  1. Hi John, Cost nothwithstanding, have you ever considered moving to a more moderate climate, especially after you retire? You’ve enjoyed the beautiful California weather (and lack of seasons) while in Fresno.

    Is there a world where you’d move to traditional retirement states like Arizona, Florida, Nevada or, assuming Netflix turns Old Man’s War into a 10 season series (I hope!), back to California?

  2. Seattle’s going the opposite direction today, though not as far. Winter has been mild so far. I’ve been wearing my pea coat instead of a ski jacket, but it’s supposed to snow today. A little bit MIGHT stick, which means total panic. Seattle doesn’t deal well with snow and ice.

  3. I grew up in Ohio and large swings in temperature were considered normal and expected after a cold snap. Minus five one day and plus 40 the next was not unusual and nobody complained. That’s just the way it was. I love seasons too. In the past I lived a few years in the a tropical island “paradise” and the sameness day after day got under my skin. Variety in weather is one of the spices of life.

  4. Where I live, Wednesday’s overnight low this past week was -30. This afternoon, it is 41 degrees – a 71-degree temperature shift within five days’ time. Wildly unusual for this part of the country.

    Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now.

  5. Climate change, not to be mistaken for weather, doesn’t change with the flip of a switch. As the planet/atmosphere has warmed, so the effects started to appear. Cause/Effect. So, “normal” may be thought of as relative, even though it is not. A 20-something or 30-something person does not have reference for the changes. … Perhaps climate change is partially due to natural fluctuations of this spinning ball we borrow for a time. Perhaps, too, humans’ abuse and pillaging of it exacerbate the changes.

  6. After a low of -7° a few days ago the temperature is presently 65° next door here in south-central Indiana. It was unseasonably warm the entire first week of February in 2012 when Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl. Let’s hope the Patriots get their tails kicked today by the Rams just as they did here by the Giants. Go Rams!

  7. I could’ve posted similar pictures from my back yard yesterday. An ocean away in The Netherlands. Yet, people keep telling us climate change ain’t real. Even though I distinctly remember that last century, we had actual winters!

    I like all the nice summers we’re getting now. And I never cared much for snow and ice.The rising sea levels, and increased amounts of hurricanes and shit, I REALLY could do without.

    For retirement states, have you looked at Colorado, or one of the other rockies states? An internet buddy of mine bought a home on a mountainside that’s just fucking GORGEOUS, for numbers I couldn’t afford but you probably could. You have seasons, you have views, you have your space, you have your nice neighbours. But with fuckin’ mountains in the background!

  8. Say what you want, but after listening to my furnace run continuously for 3 – 4 days I was very much ready for the peace and quiet that comes with 50 degree weather.

  9. Dear Ellie,

    “Perhaps climate change is partially due to natural fluctuations…”

    If by ‘partially’ you mean ‘less than 20%,’ well then okay.

    If you mean anything else, no. Just… no.

    The science is not unsettled on this. We understand what is happening and why it is happening. It has been conclusively demonstrated that natural fluctuations can only account for a small fraction of the climate change. The rest is anthropogenic.

    In fact, this was demonstrated two decades ago and repeatedly confirmed since. Anyone who tells you it is unsettled is either ignorant, a crackpot, or a liar.

    We also understand why the winter weather is getting weirder, and it is a consequence of climate change. The differential warming of the highest latitudes is destabilizing the polar vortex making it more wibbly-wobbly. During the record cold last week, the most southerly boundary of the polar air mass was in Mexico!

    This is the new normal.

    pax / Ctein

  10. Forget where I read it, but when people who have lived in Alaska move, they don’t move to places like North Dakota. No, they go to Hawaii or Arizona or Florida. Like Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station…

  11. ctein — You are correct. I had also arrived at the three categories of climate change denial. I also like to make the point that global warming is an observed phenomenon. It’s happening and cannot be denied. Global warming causes the climate to change. That’s simply a physical fact; it cannot be otherwise. The only real unknown is how bad will it will be.

    As for retirement, I would choose Colorado. I live in northwest Georgia and the weather in Denver, where I have friends, is often better than here. Sure, they get colder nights, but their daytime highs in the winter are often about the same as here.

  12. Before I retired from the USAF (7 years ago) I had arguments about this with the meteorological NCOs and civilian experts I worked with and next to. I started to wonder if their resistance to the AGW evidence all around them was that if it were true, their decades of forecasting experience and intuition were becoming outdated and even dangerously wrong. Climate is not weather, but climatology shapes what the weather is likely to be.

  13. Dear Ctein,

    Who determined that natural causes account for less than 20% of climate change?


    Milutin Milanković

  14. Dear Milutin,

    The first paper I am aware of was in Nature right around the turn of the century; the research was done by the British meteorological service. Climate scientists were already certain that global warming was primarily anthropogenic, had been for years. But they hadn’t put numbers on that.

    The problem — vastly oversimplified — was that climate change is the result of a whole lot of factors: Earth’s orbital tilt, volcanism, aerosols, solar flux, greenhouse gases, deforestation, etc. Think of it as an equation (A * tilt) + (B * volcano) + (C * sun) +… + (X * gases) = Climate. What we’d like is to put a number on X — 5%? 95%?

    What the Brits did was took the previous 120 years of weather data and spent a humongous amount of supercomputer time running the models with all imaginable combinations of A, B, C, etc. If a model was good (realistic), it ought to be able to “backcast,” correctly describe the climate that we already know happened.

    It was impossible to get a good fit to the historical data using natural sources. It wasn’t even close! They didn’t get any kind good fit unless X, the contribution of greenhouse gases, was at least two thirds.

    That settled the question of whether humans were primarily responsible. Climate change deniers have been ignoring that ever since.

    Since then that experiment has been run hundreds if not thousands of times. Backcasting is the standard way of determining if your model is any good; everybody does it. Later, more accurate models and simulations pushed the anthropogenic contribution up to 80%, which is the last number I know. It may well be even higher now. I’m not paying close attention to these kinds of experiments unless they are telling me something new.

    Here’s a lovely interactive graphical demonstration of how the different factors contribute:

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 
    — Digital Restorations. 

  15. To follow up on Dave Branson’s comment about Seattle: it did indeed snow a bit. Problem is that it was a little above freezing when the snow started falling, but then it went below freezing. We get really wet snow here in the Pacific Northwest, and where the snow was thin it froze into slick ice. Much of Seattle is very hilly. Ice and hills are a very bad combination. If you’re heading down an icy hill you can’t stop. That’s obvious. What may not be obvious is that you can’t even steer. Keep this in mind when people rag on Seattle for not handling snow well.

    There were two collisions on my block alone. I saw both. One guy looked like he was going to thread the needle between two parked cars but then he drifted to the left due to the ice and ran into one of them. The other was trying to back out of a driveway, but as soon as the car’s nose cleared the driveway it drifted downhill and he hit the second car from the first collision.

    A few days ago, the high was in the low 50s. Flowers were starting to bud, and insects were appearing. Today the high was a little over freezing (just enough melt some of the snow) but went down into the 20s after sunset. So tomorrow is going to be even icier.

    I haven’t even mentioned the high winds that blew one of our trees down overnight. It spent the day resting on power lines. Finally got taken down about 10 PM tonight.

  16. In England, depending on how you define a swing, 65 degrees is a plausible number for the annual swing. (Last year’s annual swing for daily means was about 45 degrees; the difference between lowest overnight low to highest daytime high is in the high 80s; the swing in daily highs (or lows) would be in between.

  17. Dear Ctein (and Milutin too),

    CO2 is irrelevant!

    The Holocene is getting late.

    The sun is in a slump.

    The poles are shifting.

    Crustal displacement is nigh!

    Enjoy what’s left of the ride.


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