Why Is It So Warm in January?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Richard Seager, professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, compares this year's mild winter to years past and discusses how this warm January weather fits into the pattern proposed by climate change.


Richard Seager

Comments [9]

Doddle don b from Pa

I heard the north an south poles are switching meaning north is south an south is north but I don't kno if that's true.. also I heard the earth goes off course every couple billion years an that's is wat cause the north an south to switch.its said its like a top or ball shining it doesnts spin perfectly on its own I mean I kno the earth is continually shining but its not perfect its goes of its rocker ever once in a while.

Mar. 14 2012 12:51 AM

Well, I will belatedly suggest another hypothesis for the warm winter we are experiencing: an obscure clause of Murphy's Law: If you prepare well for something - it won't happen. After two or three very hard winters, the wettest summer ever and a blizzard in October, I actually went out an bought a large frame pro-sumer Snow Thrower, that I can ill afford, to save my hands and back from all of the snow predicted by both recent history and the Farmer's Almanac (rumored).

Results: since the day I bought the machine in early December, we've had not a quarter inch of snow here in northern Connecticut. I think this is the real reason we've had a warm winter, and I'm glad I was able to help everyone out in this small way. Even as I write this it's 40 degrees and the sun is coming out. Enjoy!

Jan. 10 2012 01:35 PM
Alice Zinnes from Park Slope

Global Climate Change is perhaps a more accurate term to use than Global Warming. As the polar ice caps melt, we may experience colder air (from the oceans becoming more cold), and warmer air from atmospheric issues. Also, particulates from coal burning actually help cool the planet. The issue is extremely complex.

Although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a new study concludes that a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change.

The study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), underscores the complex and sometimes conflicting ways in which fossil fuel burning affects Earth’s climate. While coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, it also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles that, although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight. For more information on the study, go to

TOMORROW, JAN. 11 is the DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS on the dSGEIS (draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement) and fracking regulations for NY. All major and grassroots environemtal groups agree these draft regulations must be rescinded. Please send in your comments!

Catskill Citizens has made your job easy: It has posted 20 individual letters, each focused on a different issue, that you can sign. Signing all 20 will take you about two minutes. As always, writing your own personal statement holds more weight with the authorities, but what is most important is that everyone send in comments.


Jan. 10 2012 12:40 PM
Joe B from brooklyn

Had scientists concluded 120 years ago (just prior to the Industrial Revolution) that the earth's temperature was getting too cold and we were heading into an ice age that would destroy civilization, what would the solution be for increasing the earth's temperature?

Maybe scientists would advocate a global effort to excavate as much carbon fuel as possible - coal, oil and so on - and build giant furnaces around the world to burn it all.

When you take the politics out of global warming, the issue is fairly elementary.

Jan. 10 2012 12:18 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Climate =/= weather

Global =/= uniform

Short-term local weather effects don't prove or disprove global warming.

Jan. 10 2012 11:01 AM
Kim Doggett

A question for the guest: If we have had warm weather for a while is there a greater chance of cold weather of a while. Or is weather like rolling dice and the weather we get each day has equal odds and is not effected by previous weather?

Jan. 10 2012 10:58 AM
Atticus Kain from East Harlem

It almost feels as if December should have been November, January December. We should hold a month (kind of link Friday was skipped in Samoa). If today was December 10th, 2011 the weather would fit perfectly with the month!

Jan. 10 2012 10:52 AM

This guy has a British accent so I believe him.

Jan. 10 2012 10:52 AM
George from Bay Ridge

What will February look like?

Jan. 10 2012 10:09 AM

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