January 27, 2011

Unusually Frigid Winter is One of Ithaca’s Coldest Ever

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In the middle of an unusually cold winter in Ithaca, an arctic blast from Canada sent Ithacans shivering toward their heaters earlier this week.The mornings started with sub-zero temperatures. The thermometer dropped below negative 15 degrees on Monday morning, the lowest this season. Despite the cold morning temperatures, weather.com predicted that it will warm up this weekend.Prof. Arthur DeGaetano, earth and atmospheric sciences, provided some perspective on this winter’s temperatures relative to past winters in Ithaca. “If we look at this winter so far, starting back from December to date, we experienced an average temperature of 22.3 degrees … 2.9 degrees below normal,” he said.  DeGaetano added that this winter is the 16th coldest in Ithaca’s history, according to records that date from 1892.Ithaca’s coldest winter on record was the winter of 1917-18, when average temperatures dropped to 16.7 degrees. “So [this winter] has been among the coldest December-January periods, but there have been colder seasons,” DeGaetano said. DeGaetano added that Ithaca is not likely to warm up soon. “I don’t see anything on the horizon that would break us out of this pattern. [It] looks like we’ll be stuck in this cold pattern for the next 10 days or so,” DeGaetano said.Although some students have been complaining about this winter’s frigid temperatures, others have had a more optimistic outlook.“When it gets this cold, it makes the 30-something degree weather feel like spring,” Maggie Loff ’11 said. “Enjoy this,” DeGaetano said. “This is what winter should be like.” DeGaetano teaches  Earth and Atmospheric Sciences 2680: Climate and Global Warming.The Tompkins County Health Department advised residents last Friday to dress in several layers of warm clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.“I try to hydrate myself with hot drinks and warm soups throughout the day — coffee in the morning, soup for lunch and dinner, and tea at night,” Yi Cai ’11 said.

Original Author: Melissa Kim