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Why all this Arctic air?

The dark blue area can expect cold weather through Dec. 19. Graph by NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Newspapers used to do a pretty good job of covering the weather. Today’s lazy, downsized local newspapers don’t bother much anymore. Even with the Internet today, you have to search long and hard to find out what might be causing unusual weather. Meteorologists on local television stations may provide more information, but I don’t watch television.

The cold snap that brought last night’s low here of 14 degrees is affecting a large area of the East Coast, from Florida up through Pennsylvania. I finally found a story in a Florida newspaper for which the reporter bothered to call someone at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

It seems the data is too scant to know for sure, but one theory is that this is caused by the melting of the Arctic ice, which leads to cold air being pushed farther south. It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it — the idea that global warming actually can cause colder weather under certain circumstances.

And, by the way, I can’t recommend the Climate Prediction Center too highly for those of you who are weather watchers. I find their 10-day, 14-day, 30-day and 90-day trend forecasts to be quite reliable.

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