FARGO — If you’re thinking it’s been cold this year, then you're right.
Twenty of the 31 days of October had a daily mean temperature colder than average. And while last summer wasn’t unusually cold, it was the winter that wouldn’t end and then the spring that simply wouldn’t. Put together, this has made for a cold year.
An interesting statistical fact: We get a lot more temperature variance during the cold weather season than in summer. This means for a calendar year to be cold relative to other years, it needs to be cold from January through spring and then again from fall into the next winter; the summer doesn’t matter as much.
With two months to go, 2019 has fit the formula with bone-chilling precision. So is this, like, the coldest year ever?
Well, no. Actually, through the month of October 2019 ranks as the 31st coldest out of 139 years. But, our climate has been warming since the beginning of the record in 1881. This is the coldest year of this millennium so far, and the coldest since 1996.
It’s the sixth coldest of the past 50 years and the eleventh of the past 75.
While it has been a cold year all over the Northern Plains, it has not been a cold year along the East Coast, the West Coast and most of the South, along with much of Europe, Asia and many other places around the world.