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Boston Weather: 41.0°F | Light Rain Fog/Mist and Breezy

Weather: Global Warming

By Robert Lindsay Korty
STAFF METEOROLOGIST -- It seems the news is peppered with reports about global warming whenever the country is baking during a hot summer or basking in a mild winter. It is more reality than perception that these stories all but disappear during months such as this. The truth is, of course, neither a hot summer nor a warm winter can be used accurately as evidence that the planet is heating. Neither can a few months during which the temperature falls below average be accurately taken to signal the demise of global warming. Daily and monthly weather is highly variable, mere noise in a century-long climate record. Climate changes induced or precipitated by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses could only be detected as a gradual shift over the course of several decades, a time-scale similar to an average human life span.

In fact, while the northern United States is frozen in an Arctic airmass, temperatures in Alaska and the western United States have been relatively mild. Storms entering the western Pacific have been blocked by a ridge over Alaska during much of January, forcing air originating in Siberia to run north over the North Pole and slide down the other side of the ridge into eastern Canada and straight into New England. It may finally make it above freezing early next week. Maybe.

Extended Forecast

Today: Sunny and brisk. High of 19°F (-7°C) with wind chills remaining below 0°F (-18°C) during much of the day.

Tonight: Frigid. Low 3°F (-16°C) with wind chills as low as -20°F (-29°C) at times.

Thursday: Partly sunny and cold. High 20°F (-7°C). Low 5°F (-15°C).

Friday: Morning clouds, otherwise partly sunny. High 24°F (-4°C), low 10°F (-12°C).