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Much-needed Sierra snow but a Miracle March? Not so fast; Record warmth in Arctic

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Feb 25 2018 Daniel Swain Read full CA Weather Blog here

Long absent, cold temperatures finally return to California

2018 brought the warmest first half of winter on record to most of the American Southwest, including Southern California. (NOAA/NCDC)

The 2017-2018 “rainy season” has been a pretty unusual one over much of California. The season to date has been nearly the driest on record to date over much of Southern California, and conditions have also become increasingly dry across the north as the season has progressed. Until mid-February, California had suffered through one of its warmest starts to the winter on record (in Southern California, and across most of the interior American Southwest, it was the warmest first half of winter on record)….

….Most extraordinary of all, though, is the almost unbelievable warmth that has pervaded the highest latitudes of the Earth in recent days. As of this writing (today), the Arctic (including the North Pole itself) is experiencing temperatures warmer than have previously been recorded at any point during the winter season. Despite the still 24-hour darkness near the pole, the amplified jet steam pattern noted above has allowed plumes of subtropical moisture to penetrate very far poleward over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans–yielding temperatures on the order of 55-65 degrees F above average and actually bringing *above freezing* conditions to northern Greenland and over the adjacent sea ice pack. Incredibly, sea ice in the Bering Sea near Alaska has been actively retreating in recent days…..

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