Illustration (Image Credit: Wix)
It's more like spring than winter, and it's only the beginning of March. You might have heard about the "Beast from the East" that froze most of Europe and brought snow and frigid temperatures even to places that don't see snow that often. Well, there goes our winter, as they say. There is only so much cold air to go around (the world) and this winter we've been left out of almost all of it. The New York Times tried to come up with an explanation for the the lack of winter in some locations and too much in others. Based on the research of Dr. Judah Cohen, who is director of seasonal forecast at Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER), it is suggested that a warming Arctic is weakening the "Polar Vortex.” Yet, the same article now notes that Arctic warming is leading to more snow in Siberia. More snow means colder temperatures, and this is actually the location where our real winter cold comes from -- but this year it never did. Instead, we were in a relatively warm, but stormy pattern as storms moved from west to east across the Mediterranean. The climate system is quite complex and very hard to understand the reasons for why one winter is colder or warmer than others (or wetter/drier). True, we have brain sizes larger than those of the dinosaurs, but our brains are still not quite large enough! That leaves me to note that my Israeli bred blueberry plant is full of flowers and ready for spring, while my own blueberry plants (from seed) are still waiting for winter to end (not knowing that it never really started). The cherry and apple tree also looks lost. True, we had a good deal of rain, but if winter ends early, then we might have to say that our drought -- although not as severe as last year -- is still with us. Will our drought continue? Probably. After a beautiful day Sunday the winds will strengthen from the southwest. A "dry storm" arriving on Tuesday will be preceded by dust, but it will bring cooler temperatures without any rain. Thursday will turn quite warm, and a storm at the end of the week should bring some dust and some rain showers.
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk.