Sunday, November 11, 2012

HOW ARCTIC SEA ICE RECORD LOWS RELATE TO TEXAS WEATHER...or why am I still running the a/c on November 11th?!?

I've just completed an extensive survey of world ecosystems with my schoolchildren. The deserts, the grasslands, the forests, and many smaller ecosystems yielded no surprises. But then we took a look at the polar biomes. I was shocked by some of the scientific websites and their reports about the amount of open water in the Arctic Ocean these past few years. The most interesting website we studied was the daily report by the National Snow & Ice Data Center.
So you might ask....why would a Texas tropical gardener who hardly remembers what a snowball looks like care a fiddle about the Arctic Ocean?

Well, frankly, it's because it's the middle of NOVEMBER and so far we've had barely a hint of cool Autumn weather. Everything is running about a month and a half behind schedule.

Why is it running a month and half behind schedule?

My best guess is that Mother Nature is having to spend an extra month or so refreezing the Arctic Ocean (see above). That makes a Texas October feel like September, November like October, December like November, and January like December. Spring starts in February.

Our last winter here in central Houston went without a single freeze. That's nice for the tropical garden, but not so nice for our air-conditioning/electric bills.
 It's a simple theory and it leaves out the hundreds of other weather variables (and doesn't explain the blizzard in the Northeast)
But the fact remains; it takes a lot of extra energy to refreeze an ocean!

Tonight we get our first real cold front, so it's time to find my coat....and finally turn off the A/C.

All for now,


  1. Whenever someone says global warming isn't real, I want to pull out the satellite images showing the shrinking ice. We barely had winter last year. I'm hoping for a real doozy this year. Love your Shackleton mask. :o)

  2. Interesting topic! As you say, there are hundreds of other variables - but those are so important - sea vs. land, where on the land or sea one is (lat., long.), period of record, past events of colder and warmer, etc. For the last several years, there seems to be a trend of cooler lows from Alaska down to my area, and warmer highs towards least in winter, and for now. Add to that air circulation...counterclockwise at the polar low, clockwise at the tropical high...AC in Houston in mid-Nov, shorter growing season in Abq.

    For our gardens, one thing is certain - it will change again, affecting whatever species one pushes to colder, wetter, drier, or warmer than the range of where they garden truly is.

    One point of clarification...since energy is heat, it actually would take a decline in energy to let the polar caps freeze. It's happened before, and it would be wild to see what the climate was like in various places in response, in such periods.

  3. I know it's been abnormally warm, but oh, how I've loved it!

  4. Hi David, it was a beautiful day here, cool but sunny. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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