Winter Weather

Winter has been warmer and wetter

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch tried to alarm readers with its headline. Unfortunately, the story didn’t fit the bold print.

It turns out that St. Louis had its 17th warmest winter on record. Meteorological winter in St. Louis runs from December 1 through February 28, so the exceptionally cool March won’t change the fact. Still, 17th out of 130 does not seem dramatic at all.

The Post quotes a man who seems to explain the world-wide warming trend very well.

Ben Abell, longtime local meteorologist and a professor at St. Louis University, said winter was in keeping with the much-discussed world warming trend. Abell said human factors contribute to that warming, but added, “I’m skeptical of blaming this entirely on human activity. We came out of a little ice age about 1850 or so.”

Abell said the overall warming also may explain the mild summers because of increased evaporation leading to more cloud cover. More clouds keep days cooler and nights warmer, he said.

That little ice age resulted from heavy volcanic activity in the northern hemisphere. Since accurate records date only from the 1870s, it is difficult to determine if our temperatures are more like the period prior to 1850. And, as we’ve seen, the computer models just don’t work.