US off to Frosty Start This Winter, NOAA Says

Image: US off to Frosty Start This Winter, NOAA Says

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 10:00 PM

By Amy Woods

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Government scientists said more than half the United States is flocked in snow – 53 percent, to be exact – the highest percentage for the lower 48 states in 10 years.

According to a story on NBCNews, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pegs the cause of the significant snow-pattern shift on an oddity in the jet stream that has resulted in hotter temperatures in Alaska and colder temperatures on the continent.

"With the noteworthy exception of Alaska, nearly every state was affected by the unusually cold air at some point during the November-to-December time frame, with temperatures dipping down to at least minus-43 (degrees) F in Montana on Dec. 8, and running 10 to 20 (degrees) F below average elsewhere," a report from Climate Central reported.

NOAA said the United States currently is among the coldest places on earth, with Antarctica as the only place that is cooler. The specific portions of the United States experiencing the big chill? Central and eastern.

"According to NASA, November was the warmest such month on record worldwide since reliable instrument temperature data began being collected in 1880," Climate Central said.
Global warming still is a trend, scientists said, as the hottest Novembers on record have popped up since 2001.

Kevin Trenberth, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, agreed the surprising amount of snowfall is a separate issue from climate change. "If you warm up the atmosphere, you can actually get heavier snowfalls in winter," Trenberth said. "That's one of the ironic things about global warming. Maybe we can say that without climate change, it would be colder still. That's a bit of a glib statement, but the odds are that it's true."

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