Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spring in the west, and deep freeze in the east

The Arctic Ocean usually reaches its maximum sea ice extent about this time of year, and we as start observing the annual spring/summer sea ice melt up north the sea ice extent is about 1,000,000 square kilometers below the 1981-2010 average.  Wow!   

This has also been a wild winter ride, and it's not over for people in the midwest.  As I type this entry schools including universities across that region are closed or running on a weather-impacted schedule.  Out here in the mountain west though it looks and feels like spring has already sprung.  We did have a dose of snow over the weekend...I had to shovel twice on Saturday and once on Sunday, but later on Sunday temperatures shot back up to 40+oF and it's headed back there today.

Normally where I live in SE Idaho is only starting the annual spring snow melt by now, but this year the snow is already all gone, except for small patches along the north sides of homes and buildings.  Wild!

Other signs of spring around here include daffodils and crocuses pushing up through the soil, motorcycles appearing in parking lots, and students walking wearing sweatshirts and even short-sleeved shirts.

 Why the early Spring-like conditions?  Well, the radical swing of the jet stream this winter has stayed north of us while it's swung far to the south over the Great Plains and Midwest.

The map below shows the current jet stream track.  Idaho is south of it, and the entire eastern part of the USA, except for the Everglades and Miami are north of it and still freezing.  Yikes!

Will this madness never end?


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