Winter officially arrived with Sunday’s solstice. But for many Americans, frigid January-like conditions have prevailed for weeks.
Christmas and Hanukkah travelers are delayed if not stranded at airports on the northwest and northeast coasts. Snow clogs runways, and ice coats airplane wing flaps as Americans wait extra hours and days to reach their loved ones.
New Englanders still lack electricity after a December 11 ice storm snapped power lines. Some 3,900 Granite State customers remain in the dark after what PSNH, the local utility, called “the most devastating natural disaster to hit New Hampshire in recent history.” Over the weekend, snow similarly knocked out the lights in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.
A fabled New Orleans streetcar dodges snowflakes on December 11 on Canal Street near South Claiborne Avenue. (Eliot Kamenitz, New Orleans Times-Picayune)
Meanwhile, up to eight inches of snow struck New Orleans and southern Louisiana on December 11 and didn’t melt for 48 hours in some neighborhoods.
“I’ve lived in south Louisiana my entire life and had never seen the amount of snow we saw in many parts of the parish that day,” Tammany Parish resident Andrew Canulette wrote in December 17’s New Orleans Times-Picayune.
“That sort of thing just doesn’t happen around here.”
In southern California last Wednesday, half an inch of snow brightened Malibu’s hills while a half-foot barricaded highways and marooned commuters in desert towns east of Los Angeles. Snow barred soldiers at Barstow’s Fort Irwin from deploying to Iraq. In Las Vegas, 3.6 inches of the white stuff — the most seen in 19 years — shuttered McCarren Airport Wednesday and dusted the Strip’s hotels and casinos.
What are the odds of that?
Actually, the odds are rising that snow, ice, and cold will grow increasingly common. As serious scientists repeatedly explain, global cooling is here. It is chilling temperatures — if not the climate alarmists’ fevered expectations of so-called “global warming.”
According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2008 will be America’s coldest year since 1997, thanks to La Niña and precipitation in the central and eastern states. Solar quietude also may underlie global cooling. This year’s sunspots and solar radiation approach the minimum in the Sun’s cycle, corresponding with lower Earth temperatures. This echoes Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas’ belief that solar variability, much more than CO2, sways global temperatures.
Snow falls December 17 on the Las Vegas Strip. What are the odds of that? (John Gurzinski, Las Vegas Review Journal)
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service reports that last summer was Anchorage’s third coldest on record. “Not since 1980 has there been a summer less reflective of global warming,” Craig Medred wrote in the Anchorage Daily News. Consequently, Alaska’s glaciers are thickening in the middle. “It’s been a long time on most glaciers where they’ve actually had positive mass balance,” U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia told Medred October 13. Similarly, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has found that the extent of Arctic sea ice has expanded by 13.2 percent over last year. This 270,000 square-mile growth in Arctic sea ice is just slightly larger than Texas’s 268,820 square miles.
Across the equator, Brazil endured an especially cold September. Snow graced its southern provinces that month.