John Howell Sr. Editorial 2/28/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 28, 2014

Hung up about global warming? Try global weirding

This and that about this and that:
Returned Tuesday from the Mardi Gras/Eli/New Orleans visit, just in time to run headfirst into another Artic Vortex.

(Am I the only person who never heard of a Polar Vortex before this year?)

In fairness, the cold front kept on going to New Orleans, also, plunging temperatures there, just not quite below freezing.

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But Eli and his mother had boarded in 70-degree weather for their return trip. When they arrived in Milwaukee the Arctic Vortex had arrived before them. Temperatures were in the teens with lows around zero.

Yet for all the cold weather we’ve experienced in late 2013 and to date this year, January, 2014 was the warmest month worldwide since 2007 and the fourth warmest on record. That’s according to the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospherice Administration (NOAA). Their web site is

While we’ve been shivering in the Lower 48, Alaska has experienced its third warmest January since records began in 1918. When the cold vortex pushes down to us, warm air from lower latitudes rushes north to fill the void.

Both polar regions also experienced anomalies, according to NOAA. The extent of sea ice around the North Pole was 5.5 percent below the 1981-2010 average while in the Antarctic Sea, sea ice was 30 percent its average for the same 30-year period and the second largest sea ice extent on record.

Elsewhere, Argentina set new records for maximum, minimum and mean temperatures in several locations; England recorded its wettest January on record; China its second warmest January since national records were begun in 1961 and last month Western Australia received more than twice its normal precipitation.

The term “global warming” has taken on such political baggage that it has become awkward. I read a useful suggestion for its replacement that I have since adopted: “Global Weirding.”
As this age draws to a close we can expect weather, and not without man’s ever-increasing influence, to swing further from norms to extremes of temperatures, air movement and precipitation.