Arctic Warm – Continents Cold
The anomalously cold weather is part of a new climate pattern: Arctic Warm – Continents Cold
The emerging explanation in a nutshell: because of less Arctic sea ice, there is more heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere, this is altering planetary-scale circulation patterns in ways that the cold air normally ‘bottled up’ in the Arctic is flushing out to the south. James Overland – NOAA/PMEL Seattle USA has lead most of the explanatory work I have seen. So, while the mid-latitude (especially central north Asia) is cold, the Arctic winter is a shocking up to 20 Celsius (36 Fahrenheit) ABOVE NORMAL temperature. See the daily temperature anomaly map below…
Temperature departures from normal. http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01a.fnl.anim.html
The extreme cold, e.g. record low of 34 F on 24 Nov. 2010 in Oakland, CA, is leading to a false conclusion that global warming has been ‘canceled’, when in fact the Arctic is heating faster than ever. This new pattern is ‘what global warming looks like’ and why it’s always been more accurate to think in terms of ‘climate change’ instead of ‘global warming’, even though the latter, is still happening GLOBALLY AVERAGED, not regionally! 2010 has been the warmest year on record.
This same recent climate pattern seen in the above daily temperature anomalies is evident in the winter of Dec 2009 – Feb 2010. see below…
Seasonal temperature departures from normal. Note the pattern of cold continents and warm Arctic. Make plots like this here.