Friday, January 13, 2012

Odd winter weather 1

If you live here in the Hudson Valley of New York, I'm sure you've noticed that we haven't had typical winter weather this year (at least not yet!).

Let's look at some data.  Going to the National Weather Service's (NWS) list of Offices and Centers, we can get to the NWS Office in Albany, NY.  Scrolling down, you'll see a catagory for Climate with a link for Local climate information.

From there, I'll grab the Preliminary Monthly Climate Data reports for Poughkeepsie (a mid-Hudson Valley city) for November and December of 2011.

Here's what we can extract from that report:

      Average November temperature = 46.0° F
      Departure from normal = 4.4° F higher

     Average December temperature = 37.1° F
     Departure from normal = 6.0° F higher

We can also look at January, to date (Jan 13):

      Average monthly temperature = 33.7° F
      Departure from normal = 8.0° F higher

No doubt about it, it has been a very warm winter.  Since November, we've been 4° - 8° F higher in temperature than average (the "normal" temperatures these are compared to is a 30-year average calculated from data collected between 1981-2010).

If you're wondering, precipitation is about average in that same time span (we're only 0.3 inches lower this year since November 1).

It's been so warm that my family has been doing a lot of geocaching this winter (the subject of another post).  Last weekend when we were out, bushwacking through some brush, we picked up a bunch of deer ticks on our legs.  I've never had to worry about ticks in the middle of winter before!

So what's causing this mild winter?  Can we identify any reason?  Is it global warming?  I'll discuss this in tomorrow's post.

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