The New York Parks Department has cancelled the city’s annual Winter Jam celebration, the New York Times reports. Event festivities always depended on a decent snowfall, which is why they take place in February. However, for a number of years, snow-making machines have been available as a back-up for the weather. However, given project temperatures, even artificially created snow is no longer an option.
“It is simply too warm to make snow, and the long-range weather forecasts and current ground temperatures make it extremely unlikely that snow could be made,” says the message from the parks department.
This winter season has been incredibly warm throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. January and February are typically the coldest months in northern climes, yet even in what should be deep winter, many cities have minimal snow cover.
UK weather forecasters are also predicting this may be the warmest winter of all time, and it’s likely to be a record-breaker for other countries as well. Not that this will be the first time in recent memory global high-temperature records have been broken.
Speaking anecdotally, I’ve been away from Canada since September, but most every email from friends and family back home have informed me that it’s felt like there hasn’t been a winter at all. My hometown, often dubbed “Winterpeg” for its extreme sub-zero temperatures and tendency to explode its city snow-clearing budget, had a brief cold snap in early January, and that’s about it. No white Christmas, none of the usual blizzards.
Personally, the last really cold winter I can remember dates back to when I was 13 or 14. Like most Winnipeggers, I took a perverse pride when I was younger in our extreme weather conditions. Among other things, our city boasted the greatest annual temperature range in the world, at 80 Celsius degrees. This variation is more extreme than in the notoriously changeable steppes of Russia, which defeated both Napoleon and Hitler.
In my home town, we were capable of reaching 40 degrees Celsius in the summer (that’s 104 degrees Fahrenheit), and dropping down to -40 degrees without windchill in the winter (the same in both temperature systems). I say “were,” because of course it hasn’t been like that since I was a kid. Lately it seems like winter may disappear entirely.
Of course this isn’t just about the city of my birth. Here, rather than relying on my own anecdotes, I’ll give you the hard data. We have records of temperature data going back 130 years. Globally, 2011 was the ninth hottest year on record. Given the temperatures this last month, and those projected for the next month, 2012 may end up making the top 10 as well, but we’ll have to wait and see. In fact, nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000.
But climate change isn’t real. Just ask the Republican presidential candidates. Good thing, too. I was worried this might be part of a pattern.
Photo credit: Petritap
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