The End of Winter

The role of climate change in a disturbingly mild season

It's too early to say with certainty, but 2012 is shaping up as the year that winter forgot. All of December and the first week of January saw atypically mild temperatures throughout much of the U.S.--most dramatically in the usually harsh states of the far north and parts of the Plains. Fargo, N.D., hit 55F on Jan. 5, breaking a more-than-a-century-old record for the warmest day in January. In December, at least half the U.S. had temperatures at least 5F above normal. At the end of 2011, less than 20% of the lower 48 was covered with snow, compared with more...

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