|Map shows 2014 vs. average 1951-80 temperature over the globe. Bar chart|
below compares each year since 1880 with 20th century average.
As we emerge from the latest cold spell I asked myself "Where is all this global warming when we need it?" A recent report in the NY Times provides the answer. Globally, 2014 was in fact the hottest year since record keeping began in 1880. Of all the areas inhabited by humans, only a spot along the Angola/Namibia border and the American Midwest were cooler than average.
While our TV stations were reporting on the "polar vortex," they were mostly leaving out the other half of the picture. The southerly kink in the jet stream that sent frigid Canadian air as far south as Alabama has been paired with a matching northerly kink further west that has brought tropical air north. This has not only scorched California; it has also brought a heat wave to Alaska and the arctic that has melted the ice out from under the polar bears' feet.
Perhaps Chicago's weather is not so bad -- even in January.