Plan to be in the next issue - Call 540-812-2282
Culpeper Times • February 2-8, 2017
HOME & GARDEN Global warming continues, but will that affect this winter’s weather? WILD IDEAS
Noting the mood swings in the weather so far this winter, a couple of weeks ago I started wondering what the rest of the winter held in store. Then the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) came out with its annual report on climate, which says that 2016 was the warmest year on record. With El Niño as the catalyst, the globe experienced record warmth from January through August last year. (El Niño is a warming of the water in the equatorial Pacific associated with widespread changes in weather patterns.) Despite the cooling effects of La
Niña in the remaining months of the year, the year ended with the “third warmest December on record for the globe,” with an average temperature 1.42 degrees F above the 20th century average. This put 2016 it in the same club as 2005, 2010, 2014 and 2015, which also broke records from previous years. The annual climate report from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, released at the same time as NOAA’s, echoed the latter’s findings. But what does this say about local weather? As the NASA report pointed out, “weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures,” so not every region on Earth experienced record-breaking warm temperatures last year. “For example,” the report said, “both NASA and NOAA found the 2016 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 states was the second
PHOTO COURTESY OF NOAA
A NOAA map shows record warm temperatures for 2016, including in Virginia.
YOUR NEXT ELECTRIC BILL FROM REC WILL HAVE A TOTALLY REFRESHED LOOK. Look for it so you can set up a new MyREC SmartHub online profile.
PHOTO BY PAM OWEN
After a temperature plunge the second week in January, temperatures started to rise the following week, but not enough to melt the ice along the North Fork of the Thornton River.
legend, one NOAA map does show that the U.S. generally had “warmer than average temperatures,” while a strip that appears to run along the southern Appalachians (including Virginia) shows higher, “record warming” temps. While La Niña generally has a cooling effect globally, in the U.S. it typically is associated with winter temperatures that are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler
than normal in the Northwest, according to NOAA in a its October weather prediction for this winter. NOAA’s maps (see graphic) show that, while the southern part of Virginia has a 30-40 percent chance of having average temps above normal, up here in Northern Virginia, we have an equal chance of experiencing warmer or colder winter this year. ➤ See Weather, Page 10