PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In the last couple weeks, we’ve experienced temperatures in the 60’s, that dropped through the night into the 30’s, followed by a snow storm. Now it feels like spring…in February. Is this the new normal?
Stephen Strader is an assistant professor of geography and the environment at Villanova University. He says part of the reason for the strange weather pattern is the shrinking polar ice caps.
“Today they’ve started releasing information about how we are now seeing the lowest levels of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice in recorded history, so things are changing,” he explained.
Strader says the earth’s atmosphere typically brings that cold air down to our region, but if there is no ice to cool the atmosphere, there can be no cold air.
“If you take the long-term seasonal trends right now, we’re running a few degrees above normal, which means that this winter has been relatively warm,” he said. “And if you actually look at the Philadelphia region, we’re really dry too, we’re in drought conditions, actually.”
And Strader says that does not bode well for farmers and gardeners in the region.
“We really lack the snow cover and eventually the snow melts, and it recharges that top soil, and by recharge, I mean puts moisture back in the soil,” he said. “We need that snow in the Philadelphia region, to help regenerate some of soil moisture for the early spring, and we haven’t really had that.”
Strader says with planting season right around the corner, the drought will mean lower reservoir and well levels, and more irrigation.