Although you might have a hard time convincing residents of the eastern United States, Scandinavia, and Russia (outside of Sochi, anyway), January’s global average surface temperature balanced out as the fourth warmest in the historical record.
Persistent cold temperatures in the Midwest this winter almost completely frozen over many of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) reported that 88 percent of the Great Lakes were frozen as of mid-February.
Maps of precipitation deficits through January show California mountain areas generally have greater deficits than lower elevations, and Southern California with larger deficits than areas to the north. The drought outlook for February remained grim.
Only a few herds of reindeer and caribou are increasing or are stable at high numbers; most herds continue to decline or remain at low numbers after severe declines in recent decades. Whether these trends are a result of Arctic climate change or part of a natural pattern is still unknown.
Nearly ten percent of U.S. watersheds are living beyond their means when it comes to their water supply. For nearly half the country, water stress is projected to worsen by mid-century because of climate change, according to a recent NOAA-funded analysis.
The most likely explanation for the lack of significant warming at the Earth’s surface in the past decade or so is that natural climate cycles caused shifts in ocean circulation patterns that moved some excess heat into the deep ocean.