Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Two warmest winter months in Midwest, U.S. history may have connection

Date:
June 14, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
This past March was the second warmest winter month ever recorded in the Midwest, with temperatures 15 degrees above average. The only other winter month that was warmer was December of 1889, during which temperatures were 18 degrees above average. Now, researchers may have discovered why the weather patterns during these two winter months, separated by 123 years, were so similar. The answer could help scientists develop more accurate weather prediction models.

This past March was the second warmest winter month ever recorded in the Midwest, with temperatures 15 degrees above average. The only other winter month that was warmer was December of 1889, during which temperatures were 18 degrees above average. Now, MU researchers may have discovered why the weather patterns during these two winter months, separated by 123 years, were so similar. The answer could help scientists develop more accurate weather prediction models.

Tony Lupo, chair of the Department of Soil, Environment and Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU, created computer models with global weather records and ship captains' logs to determine why these two months were unusually warm. He discovered that the preceding months were also dry and warm, as well as the previous summers, which led him to determine that both 2012 and 1889 were La Niña years.

"During a period of La Niña the sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean are lower than normal by 3 to 6 degrees," Lupo said. "This typically directs the jet stream from the Pacific on a northeastern path over Canada. Rain storms follow the jet stream, leaving the central and south-central states dry, while blocking air from moving south into the Midwest, resulting in higher temperatures."

The discovery of the similarity between these two months, even though they are separated by 123 years, could help scientists understand the variability within climate patterns and assist them with future weather predictions. Thus, scientists could further understand how climate is changing and how variable it is becoming.

As well as being La Niña years, 2012 and 1889 also featured strong Artic Oscillations, a pattern of air pressure that wraps itself around the North Pole. During these times the air pressure is low and the oscillation traps and keeps cold air in the artic. With oscillation keeping cold air to the north, records showed a strong "ridge" over central North America. Ridges often bring record heat into an area, explaining the unusually warm winter temperatures, Lupo explained.

"The La Niña pattern has continued into the summer and will continue to affect the weather," Lupo said. "This will cause droughts and above average heat throughout the Midwest from Texas to Iowa. A new El Nino pattern could develop this fall and bring favorable weather conditions to the Midwest; however, I don't see this happening."

Lupo shared his results with fellow scientists at the Seventh International Climate Change Conference in Chicago this May. He is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in London and is a member of the International Panel for Climate Change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. The original article was written by Jerett Rion. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Two warmest winter months in Midwest, U.S. history may have connection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614131059.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, June 14). Two warmest winter months in Midwest, U.S. history may have connection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614131059.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Two warmest winter months in Midwest, U.S. history may have connection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614131059.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) — Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

AFP (Oct. 19, 2014) — Tens of thousands of runners battled thick smog at the Beijing Marathon on Sunday, with some donning masks as the levels of PM2.5 small pollutant particles soared to 16 times the maximum recommended level. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) — With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins