Our just-completed snow season was one of the longest on record. The first measurable snow fell on Oct. 4 in Fargo-Moorhead, and the last measurable snow locally occurred on April 24, for a total of 203 days between accumulating snow events.
At first glance, our weather has gone through several remarkable changes the past few months: from flood to drought and back to flood again. But upon closer examination, the changes, though newsworthy, were perhaps less extreme in reality.
The debate surrounding climate change often creates misunderstandings about the facts. I’ve been asked whether Arctic ice is actually melting more than once recently. The answer is that Arctic sea ice is most certainly decreasing.
The low temperature on Sunday was 24 degrees at Hector International Airport in Fargo. On Monday, the sensor at the airport recorded a maximum temperature of 93 degrees. That is a difference of 69 degrees in approximately 36 hours.
Fargo-Moorhead has recorded about 6 inches of precipitation this year, with a vast majority of it in the form of melted snow. Although that is nearly 1 inch above average for the year, the past 18 months have been quite dry overall.
Because storm data varies so much over time, it has proven very difficult to quantitatively assess trends in storms as related to our changing climate. A new study in the April issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society relates storms to the atmospheric conditions that produce them, and then quantifies changes in these conditions.
Early Tuesday evening, the temperature sensor at Hector International Airport in Fargo officially reached 80 degrees. This was the first 80- degree temperature of the year and the first since Oct. 2, 2012.
The snowstorm late last week set numerous records for snow amounts recorded during the month of May. The states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas all set records for the heaviest snow observed during the month of May.
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