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Crazy Climate Maps

Posted on Mar 24, 2015

One benefit of the continual and seemingly never-ending cold and snowy winter (also known as spring now!) is that it provides us a tremendous opportunity to engage and educate people. The topic of our weather invariably comes up in every day life, especially now, and when someone complains about their heating bill or their aching back (thanks, shoveling!) you can mention to them that all of this may likely be due to our changing climate.


The above graphic shows our globe and the general temperature percentile categories for meteorological winter, December through February, via NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Climate change has a firm grip on the Earth, with the vast majority warmer than average, some by far. Eastern parts of the United States and Canada, stuck in the jet stream trough, were locked in the polar dome. Western areas of the U.S. were therefore also cemented in to the ridge, roasting the environment all the way through Alaska (which was far warmer than say, New York City, this winter). However, things really did not get rolling for us until February, as you can see below.


While the West Coast of the U.S. continued to bake and ripped past heat records we froze, the extremes climbing as the season wore on and the pattern remained locked. We are not supposed to see such continual weather. It is not healthy for our environment or our civilization, nor is the rest of the planet heating up more and more each year, on land and in water. The temperature departure for February 2015 from the 1981-2010 base period is absolutely mind-blowing.


What’s that about Siberia and cold? It seems to have passed it on to us! Europe and Asia sizzled while that arctic air mass was entrenched in our foreign lands for a second straight year. Feeling the extra chill and bemoaning a prolonged winter is not a complaint manufactured from the depths of our imagination – this is not normal, or even close to it! Please engage everyone you can about the health of the Earth and the thermometer rising across it, altering pathways of air and water that we did not think could be manipulated so freely and rapidly.

We know that humanity’s greenhouse gases are the primary cause behind climate change, but we still must learn how our weather machine is being transformed and precisely what our unintentional role is in it. There is certainly so much to decipher and discover, and through science, research, education and open-mindedness we can ascertain how dire the situation is, and hopefully, how to remedy and potentially reverse it, then remove our influence entirely.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator