What's a polar bear to do when it is 72 in January? Well, if you're a member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, you stage a silent protest. The Times reports eight members of the club cancelled their Saturday swim, because the water was too warm. Perhaps more interestingly, the News reports it was nine members of the club and the Post says ten! According to Polar Bear Club treasurer Tom McGann, yesterday was the first time in more than a century that the club has cancelled a swim. Meanwhile, the News also reports that the real polar bears in the Central Park Zoo were largely unaffected by the warm weather.
Yesterday was a truly remarkable day weatherwise. Central Park's high of 72 degrees shattered the old record for that date and tied January 26th, 1950 as the warmest January day ever. Temperatures across the region were in the upper-60s to lower-70s. Did you get out to enjoy the spring weather?
Many people are concerned that the warm weather is a sign of global warming. That's only partially true, as explained by Robert Henson, a science writer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in an NPR interview this morning. The East Coast warmth is a result of the jet stream staying well to our north. That warp in the jet stream is primarily because of El Niño in the Pacific, high pressure over the North Atlantic, and diminished sea ice in the Arctic. Of those three, only the decrease in sea ice extent and thickness is known to be directly related to global warming.
Today isn't nearly as warm as yesterday, but it is very pleasant out there. Tomorrow will not be pleasant. The Weather Service is predicting wind and heavy rains, and possibly a thunderstorm, from very late tonight until about noon tomorrow. Monday will start off warm but will likely cool after the rains leave. Tuesday should be pleasant if cooler and there's an ever so slight chance of a snow shower on Tuesday night.
Photograph of Pete Rocanelli and Bob Paventi enjoying the sun at Coney Island by HeuiChul Kim/AP.