While it may not officially be winter until December 21st, most of us expect this point in the year to be cold.
After all, it’s December; the time of year when we’re all meant to be huddled around an open fire, roasting chestnuts, and watching the snow fall outside. Winter is the coldest season of the year, but the winter of 2017/2018 is beginning to look a lot like… June.
Here’s an example of what’s going on:
Update 1: The temperature at Denver-DIA reached 81° at 12:56 pm. This establishes a record for this date exceeding 74° in 1950 & 1903. This also exceeds Denver’s old November record high of 80° set on the 8th of 2006 & the 16th of 2016. #COwx
— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) November 27, 2017
A record temperature for this late in the year in Denver– but Colorado is far from the only state experiencing incredible highs despite the onset of winter. In fact, the entire country is experiencing a warming effect:
December 2017 monthly temperatures continue to be forecast well above normal in CFSv2 across Lower 48 USA.
Avg of last 40 cycles: pic.twitter.com/TpsWs0bd4J
— Ryan Maue | weather.us (@RyanMaue) November 24, 2017
If this trend continues, it seems that a white Christmas is nigh-on impossible for most of the country; in fact, it might be closer to cookout weather. So what’s going on, and is it going to continue?
The Impact Of La Nina
La Nina is the opposite of El Nino; both are weather phenomena that can create unusual weather conditions. La Nina is currently in effect, and will have an impact on the amount of snowfall the US sees this winter .There’s no doubt that La Nina is having some effect on the strange temperatures, but it’s not the only cause.
The Undeniable Climate Change
Sadly, we are now at a point where we can see the reality of climate change for ourselves; no longer is it a hypothetical “what if” scenario. If this period of warming were isolated, then it could be dismissed as a random event. However, this period of warmer-than-average weather is far from a standalone event. We are now seeing a consistent pattern of temperatures rising above average, and this will likely continue.
The Forecast For This Winter
While the warm weather has continued through to December, things may change over the next few weeks. People living in traditionally cold states may wish to dig out their winter coats and call Harster for a check on their heating systems; it might not be a particularly cold winter, but the chill should begin to set in by the New Year.
In more temperate regions, however, the dream of a white Christmas is unlikely, so expect warm weather right through to spring.