A Hiatus in Midlatitude Winter Warming? Updated Trends in Annual Minimum
AbstractSeveral winters of the 2010s have brought to many midlatitude regions
periods of extreme cold relative to the past few years and even decades.
Further, it is suggested that melting of Arctic sea ice has increased
the likelihood of persistent extreme weather conditions in the northern
midlatitudes and the number of cold winter days. Here, estimates of
warming in annual minimum temperature are updated and extended to all
land areas where station temperature records are available, with
emphasis on the midlatitudes. Annual minimum temperatures have warmed
faster than mean temperatures in seasonally cold land regions and have
already exceeded a 2 K warming threshold over the midlatitudes, but have
warmed at about the same rate as mean temperatures in tropical climates.
Recent regionally cold winters did not significantly deviate from the
established warming trend and were within the range of interannual
variability seen in the past. These findings have implications for
contextualizing extreme winter weather, validating climate model
projections of the consequences of sea ice loss, and guiding adaptation
to shifting hardiness zones of perennial cultivars and the spread of
pest and invasive species.