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Why You Should Be Worried That It’s 50 Degrees in February

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ithaca chapter.

Don’t throw away your pompom hats and XL winter parkas just yet; this strangely warm weather may just be a fluke of nature! But while most claim this mild weather to be a result of Global Warming, it’s not so simply explained. 

Scientists believe this year’s unnaturally warm winter weather to mostly be a result of Arctic Oscillation (or Polar Vortex) and the El Nino effect—not Global Warming.

Arctic Oscillation: 

This year, Arctic Oscillation, a weather phenomenon that is known to bring cold air down into the United States, has been trapping cold air near the polar regions. So, the warm weather that allowed you to wear sandals on Christmas was ironically a gift from the Arctic. 


The El Nino Effect: 

While Arctic Oscillation played a big part in this weird “winter” weather, it’s not the only thing we should be blaming for the dust that’s collecting on our Bean boots. 

El Nino, also known as ENSO, is a weather phenomenon that goes through different phases every few years. According to NOAA Meteorologist, Michel L’Heureux, it has the ability to cause slight to extreme changes in weather patterns due to changes in atmospheric circulation. And as we can see, things got a bit extreme this season. 


Why You Should Be Worried: 

So basically, this spring-like winter weather is a result of a couple of weather phenomena that have the ability to occur every couple of years. That being said, we may still have reason to worry. 

These past couple of months filled with sandals and light jackets more often than parkas and snow boots, may more so be a curse than a blessing. This winter season has seen the highest monthly temperatures on record and the next few years are predicted to be even warmer! 

According to the World Meteorological Organization, greenhouse gas emissions have been reaching extreme highs recently, which isn’t all that healthy for our planet. So, while this weather has been much more enjoyable without Jack Frost nipping at our noses, we may want to start taking better care of our planet. If not for the sake of our environment, at least for the sake of snowy winters that make hot chocolate and fuzzy socks much more acceptable! 

If we continue to experience spring in February, winter as we know it may cease to exist!