You probably don't know much about North Atlantic arctic oscillation. Me neither. No need to get into the science behind it; simply put, it's a weather pattern that we can blame/thank for creating the world's largest snow fence. That's all we need to know.
Everyone's take is different on the weather we've been experiencing. Most people are loving every warm minute of it. Some - like those who sell snowmobiles and snowblowers - are shaking their fists to the sky and counting their losses.
When it comes to winter, one man's pain is another man's gain, and while I feel for the business owners who look forward to the winter season to boost their bottom line, there's a certain pleasure I take out of not having to deal with the whiteouts, snow and ice so common at this time of the year. I won't apologize for it.
Still, this has been a strange winter.
At the beginning of December, we were all thankful for worry-free travel for Thanksgiving and wondered just how long our luck would last. But we knew winter was coming.
In mid-December, as our thoughts turned to Christmas and more shopping, we started wondering if it would ever snow. But we knew winter was coming.
As Christmas drew near, all anyone could talk about was the possibility of a brown Christmas. But we knew winter was coming.
Then Christmas passed. It wasn't the first time we have had a brown Christmas, but for some people, a Christmas without snow is like a football game without touchdowns. Still, it was nice to not have to worry about driving in snow - c'mon, admit it. But we knew winter was coming.
Another week passed, and as 2012 got closer, it became evident that it would be a brown New Year's as well. But we knew winter was coming.
So we braced ourselves for January - the longest, darkest, dreariest, coldest, most depressing month of the year. And sure enough, I wake up on Jan. 1, 2012, to a thin layer of snow on the ground. Fun's over, winter's here.
Two days later the snow was gone. Jan. 3 and no snow. Anywhere.
It was good, but, of course, there was the arctic chill yet to deal with, and that wind that cuts through you like a knife. At least we could count on that, right?
Just last week, we were in the 60s.
Kids were playing the park. Golfers were golfing. Grass fires were burning like it was July. Lakes were turning back into lakes. Not exactly the stuff Minnesota winters are made of.
On Tuesday, it was 57. You'd swear you could hear the Easter Bunny's footsteps.
Now it's getting downright ridiculous. Here we are, Jan. 14, and there's barely any snow. Wednesday's "blast" of winter was tame by our standards, and any snow that fell will more than likely vanish this weekend. The temps have chilled, but it wasn't until Thursday that it became arctic-like.
OMG, global warming is for real! That has to be what's causing this oscillation thing, just has to be. How else do you explain it? And since we're the ones causing our planet to heat up, I suppose that means we should all be patting ourselves on the back for our weather this winter. Yes, it's time we stop kicking ourselves for pulverizing the ozone layer and heating up the planet. We should be thanking ourselves (that is, unless you enjoy frostbite).
Let's not celebrate too much though. Global warming comes with fine print - we're just oblivious to it, agog from the glory that comes with a freak 60-degree January day. The fine print outlines the other side of this oscillation deal. There's a small fishing town in Alaska that just got 18 feet of snow dumped in its lap. Feet, not inches. And it rained there last weekend. So, basically, the town is an igloo, and depending on your perspective, you either pity the people who live there or envy them.
Winter's here, we just don't recognize it because we're not dodging plows, schools haven't sent our kids home early once, and we have yet to be advised to hunker down.