Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Prediction Unchanged

You may remember there were early predictions that this winter would be of the milder “El Nino” variety. Then came the Big Storm two weeks ago. So, are meteorologists revising their forecast? Nope:
BLOOMINGTON -- Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel may have a tough sell when he predicts Illinois will have a mild winter after the beating Central Illinois took from snow and ice a little more than a week ago.

But Angel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are sticking to earlier forecasts that the winter of 2006-07 will be warmer than normal…
And there’s this..
In the long run, Angel thinks global warming is having an impact. Global climate change is leading to higher-than-average winter temperatures and less snowfall in Illinois than seen over the past 30 years, he said. His data shows the months of January and February have warmed about 2 degrees per decade over the past three decades, while December has warmed an average of just 0.3 degrees per decade in the same time period.

“Our winter seems to be shortening,” Angel said. “In January and February, it’s acting like a very early spring.”

If winter does act up, December is usually the month that sees its fury most, Angel said. “That’s been the pattern the last couple of years. We have action early in the winter during late November and early December, but then it just runs out of steam.”
I’ve noticed that too. In recent years, we’ll get a bad December and I’d expect more of the same for January and February. But no. Maybe we’ve seen the worst of it this year too.