The past 5 weeks might have you asking where is the warm weather?  After all, isn’t a warmer climate supposed to bring about warmer air? Since early March we’ve had lots of cold and stormy weather, but not much in the way of warmth.  There’s still a deep snow pack around and skiing remains great.

The reason for all the cold isn’t because there isn’t climate change and the planet has stopped warming. There is and it hasn’t.  However, the jet stream configuration over the northeast has been stuck in what meteorologists call a trough or a dip for quite a while.  Climate and weather are not the same thing.  Think of climate like a student’s G.P.A. and weather like one test they take.  The jet stream is a fleeting thing operating inside the bigger climate of the planet. NOAA

A cool configuration to the jet stream. Tropical Tidbits

While this March and early April have been cold, the colder months are becoming less frequent.  Record highs across the nation over the past thirty days have outpaced record lows by four to one, part of a general pattern we’ve seen for many years.

Record warmth continues to outpace record cold (NOAA)

A month or  two of data for one relatively small area, like Maine, doesn’t give us a good idea of the overall planet’s climate picture. Yet, if we review data for our State over a long period, such as 12 decades, we can see  important patterns and trends correlated with the overall planet.

Average March temperatures continue, on average, to increase each decade. NOAA


Weather is cyclical, oscillating between mild and cold periods.  If you review the graph above you can see that the colder periods are becoming less cold with each decade.  The dips themselves are not as low and the spikes are higher and more frequent.

In the coming days the jet stream, which controls our weather, will once again reconfigure itself.  This time, the northeast will be on the milder side of the upper level flow.  This allows a southwest wind to take over and temperatures to rise.  


Early next week warmer air from the south will arrive with temperatures above average.We all have very short memories when it comes to a lot of things, including weather.  The lack of recent mild air is a short term phenomenon.  As a matter of fact, NOAA is forecasting a warmer than average May, June and July.   By then many of you will be asking for some cooler Canadian air.

Warmer than average temperatures are forecast for late spring and early summer. NOAA

You can follow Dave Epstein on Twitter @growingwisdom


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