Global warming is not a theory in Minnesota, and in the Twin Cities in particular. Last year there was almost no cross country skiing anywhere in the state, and there were only a few weeks of outdoor ice. This winter looks no better for outdoor skating. Emphases mine.
... This winter will likely be warmer-than-normal again across most of Minnesota, according to a forecast released Thursday. And if trends continue, it will be winter nights where warming could be most pronounced.
Twin Cities winter lows, averaged over the most recent 30 years, have increased 1.6 and 2.0 degrees over the official normals. It's an increase that University of Minnesota Extension climatologist and meteorologist Mark Seeley called "emphatic."
He noted that the dynamic is right in line with what most global warming science has outlined. Warming should be most obvious in northern latitudes on winter nights because heat is more effectively trapped by greenhouse gases during long sunless hours than it is during the more volatile days of summer.
Also, Seeley said, recent studies have indicated that a warmer atmosphere, which has more heat-trapping water vapor, may be generating more heat-trapping clouds.
While more moisture may also result in more snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Karen Trammell added that warmer conditions can also mean less continual snow cover, which allows the ground to absorb more radiation.
The Twin Cities, of course, ought to be getting warmer overall as heat-absorbing pavement spreads outward. But the numbers also show that winter temperatures across the entire state have been on a nearly steady and steep upward trend for about 20 years, with seasonal averages since 1998 running above anything in the 106-year record....
The nights are what make the ice rinks work -- or become puddle pools. Warmer nights means no more outdoor hockey.
Our mayor is working to put up some rinks with coolers -- we only need a 2-4 degree drop at night to get the ice to work. Life in MN without ice skating and hockey is significantly less fun.
The only bright note is we're entering La Nina season, so we might get some snow cover up north.