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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published December 26 2013

Weather Talk: Unusual weather patterns acted in tandem in 1935-36

Thursday in this space, it was pointed out that during significant cold outbreaks in our region, weather conditions over the North Pole are often as far above average they are below average here. This is because it is, in fact, polar air that has been displaced southward to our region that makes it so cold. But it is usually warmer air that is doing the displacing.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reconstruction of weather conditions during the brutal winter of 1935-36 reveals a similar, only more extreme situation. When our region was enduring five consecutive weeks with the temperature never rising above zero, the Arctic region, and the North Pole area in particular, was having a ridiculously mild winter. This unusual weather pattern was likely brought on by a strongly positive phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation along with a strongly negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation.

Either of these oscillating patterns is likely to displace North Pole weather southward, but in the winter of 1936, they were both strong and acting in tandem.


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