Wednesday, November 23, 2005

oh, how the wind doth blow

It is snowing, as promised, finally.
As of three hours ago we were in the half-foot zone, with a full foot due ~ 50 miles west of us, less to the east.
Might even stick through christmas, or not.

So, a century ago, it was implicit that a trip between neighbouring farms at thanksgiving would require a sleigh. Christmases were "Victorian", you know, picturesque snow. In over a decade in England at the end of the 20th century I saw snow maybe a couple of times at christmas. Even in Iceland, there were "brown christmases" some years, on the south coast.
Last year, here, it didn't snow until late january (though a couple of years ago there was an ice storm on Hallowe'en and the ice was still on the ground the next april.

But, the anecdotal trend is for snow later, with warmer autumns and less bitter winters. Total snowfall trends not clear yet, the bulk of the variability tends to come from late season march storms, with foot+ at a time. Rest of the variability is lake effect snow (early season cold air from Canada blowing over the warm water of the Great Lakes. If the wind is from the north we get heavy snow, if it is from the west, upstate New York gets it - Buffalo had 6 feet (almost 2 meters) in a single storm a couple of years ago).

Some of it is North Atlantic Oscillation shifts, a tiny bit is attributable to solar cycle variability. El Ninos also matter when they come. But the trending for the last century is for later winter and warmer weather. On average.


Post a Comment

<< Home