A Year Without Winter?

Cape May, NJ – When you see a Coastie running on the beach in his shorts on an early February afternoon, something’s amiss.

The average temperature for the month of January 2012 was  five degrees warmer than usual -  about 40º F,  compared to the more typical  35º F.

For three months in a row now, our temperatures have been far above average. That’s almost freakish from a statistical perspective. Having virtually no snow during this time period is also a major aberration.

Click here for more on December’s record smashing temperatures.

The first day of February topped 60º F in Cape May, so it appears that we are heading for one of the warmest winters in history.

When we would normally have ice on ponds or some snow tucked away under the trees and shrubs, we have grass that is still green and daffodils that are poking their heads up through the mulch. This just isn’t normal.

Even the ocean is warmer than usual. Normal water temperatures for this time of year are in the high 30s F, with an average of about 37º F during January and February. This year the surf temperatures is more than 5º F above normal. Our ocean temperatures during January were similar to what is normal for March.

With the first 10 days of February looking like relatively mild weather, it is highly unlikely that we will experience a real winter this year. There simply isn’t enough time left for winter to set in.

Even if temperatures dipped into the teens for a few days, our current ocean temperatures would take some of the edge off and prevent the deep freeze from lasting long. So, it looks like the 2011-2012 winter will go into the record books as much warmer than usual.

About Paul Kerlinger

Paul Kerlinger, Ph.D. is a scientist, author and nationally known expert on bird migration. He's done extensive studies on hawks, Snowy Owls and neotropical song birds. Kerlinger is the former director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, His books include How Birds Migrate and Flight Strategies of Migrating Hawks. He's an ardent fly fisherman and organic vegetable gardener.