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Winter warmer-than-average for Northern Hemisphere

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Record snow, record cold, seaports closed because of ice forming where it has not been observed in decades.

This winter has been a cold one throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, or has it? The U.S., especially the Lower 48 states, much of Western Europe and China - three of the major population centers - have indeed experienced a hard winter to this point. But on a whole, the Northern Hemisphere is actually experiencing a warmer-than-average winter, and the entire planet experienced the warmest January since 1978.

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Global circulation patterns associated with El Nino and oscillations in the Arctic have given the high and low latitudes above- average temperatures in recent weeks, yet the mid-latitudes have been exceptionally cold and snowy.

This is one of many reasons why trying to equate global or even regional weather into a single figure misrepresents the true nature of how the weather works and affects the planet.

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