1149 Miles of Snow

I have been on the road this past week in the western United States.  It has been abnormally cold and snowy for this time of year.  This year will also go down as one of the warmest in recent years, but that didn’t prevent it from being brutally cold early in the year.  Nor did the warm year prevent snow from falling in late May (which is also very unusual).  Nothing explains this unusually cold and snowy weather more than the fact that there was snow on the ground for the first 932 miles of the trip, only when we dropped into a long mountain valley with an altitude that was less than 500m (1600ft) was there not snow by the road.  That 30 miles stretch of valley was the only part without significant snow on the ground.

The coldest point was reached (according to the cars thermometer) @ N 46’36″2 W 112’57″57 when the car thermometer read -5 F (-21 C).  This is probably pretty accurate as the official temperature near us at the time was Deer Lodge, Montana and it set the record low temperature for the day at -9 F (-23C).  The average low temperature for that day is 18 F (-8 C).

This is of course weather and not climate, but it does show that even a “warm” year can still have the brutal cold.  What would global warming change?  It cannot stop weather like this from happening.  Even the most absurd projections won’t take away the winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  Here are some of the beautiful winter pictures taken during my journey.  I know that those in warm climates will especially enjoy them.

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Montana at Sunset

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Lolo Pass

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Lolo Pass

The Inconvenient Skeptic

Ice on the Mountains

Posted in General by inconvenientskeptic on December 9th, 2010 at 10:30 am.


This post has 5 comments

  1. Stephen Brown Dec 10th 2010

    There are parts of England which have looked like your pictures recently!

  2. Glenn Tamblyn Dec 10th 2010

    I’m not sure what the point of this post is John. You draw no conclusions and only present limited information. So a few additional factors to add to the mix when considering this post:

    We are in quite a substantial La Nina at the moment. Perhaps the strongest La Nina since the 1998 El Nino. Here in Southern Australia we are having a very wet Spring/Summer and all the dams are filling again. Yippee. But that is just one year.

    We are coming out of a strong and protracted Solar Minimum.

    Recent studies at the University of Reading have looked at the behaviour of the Northern Jet Stream from past records during periods of high & low Solar activity and seen a strong correlation bewteen the movement and ‘vibrancy’ of the Jet Stream with Solar Activity.
    Since the Jet Stream is the major dividing line between mid latitude temperate weather systems and polar cold weather, how its gyrations are affected by external factors can have a big impact on mid to higher latitude weather. The Russian forest fires and the floods in Pakistan seem to have been driven by the fact that the Jet Stream seemed to freeze in place for a protracted period. Perhaps the Israeli fires as well.

    But an observed effect as the climate has warmed is that the Jet Streams have moved a little towards the Poles on average.

    You show lots of nice emotive pictures of snow & ice from you trip. Very attractive. But you are showing a few images from one small part of the USA. And the USA is only 1.5% of the Earth. What was happening at the same time in the other 98.5%?

    This is continuing a theme on your blog. Interspersed with articles on heat transfer etc you have posted comments on the US Temperature Anomaly, and now local weather conditions in one part of the US. Rather parochial information. Isn’t that the job of the US Weather Service?

    Now possibly the readership you are aiming at is merely US based, but if you are interested in helping your readership gain an understanding of Climate and Climate Change, surely one of the key aspects is to make sure they understand the need to maintain a global focus in considering the questions, rather than the very local and parochial stance of what is happening to just 1.5% of the world.

    Surely any posts on local weather is counterproductive in providing tutorials on Global Climate.

  3. inconvenientskeptic Dec 11th 2010


    I have to say something when I post the nice winter pictures from my trip.

    In actuality much of the northern hemisphere from Mexico to Norway has experienced an early onset to deep winter weather. Record lows have been experienced in many places. Stephen can attest to the weather in England.

    Mostly though, I just wanted to post the pretty pictures from my trip. Thanks for pointing out many of the reasons for cold weather in a warm year.

  4. nofreewind Dec 11th 2010

    Nice pictures John, I enjoyed them! And yes, is has been an unusually cold and snowy winter in many places, thanks for pointing that out.

  5. Thanks for the pics John they are great whats the problem Glen? Not pollie are you. Sometimes its not to be taken seriosly.Just to enjoy. After the drought you should be grateful for the rain. Its pretty normal in the long term.

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