Is April the New January?

April 21, 2018
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When the meteorologists had compiled their weather statistics for the months of February and March, they informed us that for the second straight year, February actually was warmer than March.

This pronouncement led the pundits to ponder whether, “March is the new February and February is the new March.”

As long-time Eastern New Englanders, we are accustomed to not having a spring season. The onshore breezes at this time off year bring in the chilly ocean air (the ocean temperature is typically in the 40s in April), so even if it may be sunny and in the 60s 10 miles from the coast, we will be at least 10 degrees cooler in Eastern Mass. — and it will feel even colder with the wind chill.

But even by our usual, terrible weather standards, these first two weeks of April have been as winter-like as we can remember. Sure, the Snowmageddon winter of 2015 left us with mountains of snow even in mid-April, but at least the general weather conditions and temperatures were close to normal.

This past Sunday’s high temperature was 36 and the low was 33, with intermittent snow squalls. We did a quick check and discovered that the coldest day of the year is January 29, with a typical high temperature in the range of 23 to 36. In other words, Sunday, April 15, was what we might expect in these parts on January 29.

Apart from making us depressed (literally and figuratively), a winter-like spring can have profound consequences for the environment, just as can a spring-like winter.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, we do not need a weatherman to tell that something very strange is going on with our climate — and it is not good.