A trace of snow fell at O'Hare this afternoon, the first time any snow has fallen on Oct. 22 at the city's official weather station since 1937.If we're into weather anecdotes, I can match (and raise) that one: the warmest temperature in Canada yesterday (Monday, Oct 21) was at Fort Liard, Northwest Territories (19 C= 66 F). If that strikes you as a bit odd, it should: the normal high temperature for Ft. Liard is 0 C (32 F). This is not an isolated fluke. Temperatures anomalies of about +20 C (+36 F) were seen across a wide swath of western Canada right up to the Arctic coast, where Inuvik recorded a high of 10 C (compared to the normal high of -7 C). This region is free of snow cover, right to the Arctic ocean -- which is *extremely* unusual for late October. It's so warm that the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea is actually retreating -- at a time when it's normally advancing rapidly. The reason is a persistent blocking pattern that has held sway for the past 2 weeks or so (although it is now finally breaking down). These blocking patterns have become all too familiar recently, and are responsible for a lot of weird and sometimes deadly and damaging weather. The cause remains unclear, but AGW must be considered a suspect (perhaps indirectly due to reduced Arctic summer sea ice). The weak sun has also been implicated.Phil
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