Earlier than predicted


The warmest November in Portland history? 2006. The second warmest December in Portland history? 2006. Similar numbers have been recorded for much of the eastern U.S., as well. Day after day of temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above historical averages.

The cause? Persistent, almost unwavering zonal flow of mild Pacific air straight across the lower 48 states.

Frigid air is bottled up over a small area of the Arctic for this time of year. And those “frigid” Arctic temperatures aren’t even all that “cold,” historically speaking. Elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere? Same story. Europe has little snow, even in the Alps, and freakishly, persistently warm temperatures.

We are now seeing direct evidence of global climate change. It’s been proven the parts of the world warming most dramatically are the poles. Because of polar warming, there is a smaller and warmer mass of what used to be considered “normal” frigid Arctic air.

It makes sense that what is happening is what would be expected with a “weaker” polar air mass battling a “normal” temperate air mass. What if one of the manifestations of climate change is the inability of frigid polar masses to penetrate the latitudes they used to reach?

Portland’s November and December had Hartford’s historical average temperatures; Hartford had Philadelphia’s; Philadelphia had Richmond’s; Richmond had Wilmington’s, etc. This shift of climate is precisely as predicted years ago.

The scary thing? Those shifts were predicted to take place by 2050, not 2006.

Steve McKelvey, Minot