Scientists: Americans are becoming weather wimps

Jan 09, 2014 by Seth Borenstein

We've become weather wimps.

As the world warms, the United States is getting fewer bitter cold spells like this week's. So when a strikes, it seems more unprecedented than it really is.

An Associated Press analysis of daily national winter temperature—averaged into one figure for the Lower 48 states—shows that since 1900 cold extremes like this week's happen about once every four years.

Until recently.

Government meteorologist Greg Carbin created a database of the winter daily national temperature average going back to 1900. And Monday was the first time since 1979 that the national average dropped below 18 degrees.

In 27 distinct cold snaps over 115 years, that's by far the longest the U.S. has gone without getting this frigid.

Explore further: Hypothermia and older adults

4 /5 (10 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hypothermia and older adults

Jan 07, 2014

Frigid weather can pose special risks to older adults. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has some advice for helping older people avoid hypothermia—when the body gets too ...

Arctic air brings record cold to huge swath of US

Jan 07, 2014

A blast of bone-chilling cold reaching lows not seen in two decades gripped the United States early Tuesday, snarling air travel, closing schools and prompting calls for people to stay inside.

Image: Polar vortex enters northern US

Jan 07, 2014

The polar vortex is a whirling and persistent large area of low pressure, found typically over both North and South poles. The northern polar vortex was pushing southward over western Wisconsin and eastern ...

US Midwest records could break in historic freeze

Jan 05, 2014

(AP)—A deep freeze expected soon in the U.S. Midwest, northeastern New England states and even the South will be one to remember, with potential record-low temperatures heightening fears of frostbite and ...

Recommended for you

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

1 hour ago

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

Dec 19, 2014

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.