Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mrs Bale reporting on the January thaw

Mrs Bale says, I spy with my little eye...


From Wikipedia:

The January thaw is an observed but unexplained temperature rise in mid-winter found in mid-latitude North America.

Sinusoidal estimates of expected temperatures, for northern locales, usually place the lowest temperatures around January 23 and the highest around July 24, and provide fairly accurate estimates of temperature expectations. Actual average temperatures in North America usually significantly differ twice over the course of the year:

Mid-autumn temperatures tend to be warmer than predicted by the sinusoidal model, creating the impression of extended summer warmth known as Indian summer.
For five days around January 25, temperatures are usually significantly warmer than predicted by the sinusoidal estimate, and also warmer than neighboring temperatures on both sides.
During this "thaw" period, usually lasting for about a week, temperatures are generally about 10 °F (6 °C) above normal. This varies from year to year, and temperatures fluctuate enough that such a rise in late-January temperature would be unremarkable; what is remarkable (and unexplained) is the tendency for such rises to occur more commonly in late January than in mid-January or early February, which sinusoidal estimates have to be slightly warmer.

In some regions (such as northern Canada) this phenomenon will not be manifest as a "thaw" in the technical sense, since temperatures will remain below freezing.

The January thaw is believed to be a weather singularity.


  1. HI Nan: We have just come through the January thaw, but unfortunately it didn't thaw enough to see any green grass. As I look out my window it is once again snowing, so I guess we will just have to wait a bit longer before we see any green. Nice to see Mrs. Bale again.

  2. Donna, we had an incredible melt. Icicles that were inches thick just dripped away to nothing. Mrs Bale was happy to have something to say besides, let's see: it's snowing, it has snowed, it will snow, and it is quite cold, though not terribly so. :<)

  3. Mrs Bale, singularly I enjoy the January Thaw no matter what they call it. I love to see those specks of green that make me yearn for warmer temps of spring.

  4. Lisa, I thought you'd like this!

  5. We're seeing patches of green here, too. Not for long I'm afraid... snow in the forecast!

  6. All green here now in the u.k. (Mrs Bale has probably already told you that). Due to our recent snow my garden looks as though a wet giant has sat on it, not a good look.
    Wonderful sunset, the gritting lorry just went down the lane, so frost tonight.

  7. Oh, JoAnn, I'm positive we'll be all white again in no time. This thaw is a little pause to remind us what spring is. We'll have snow for February, March, and April. May is when my daffodils come. :<)

    Carole, you should do some writing. Honestly - 'a wet giant' is just perfect.

  8. We had a nice thaw last week and now we're back down into the teens!!

  9. I leave Monday for a month in Alabama--a true February thaw! I posted on my Fairhope blog about what I expect.

  10. Staci, it is 30º today with light snow. Typical winter.

    Thanks, Kerrie!

    Mary Lois, very funny! I'll bet it will be just perfect down there.

  11. We've had some melting/thawing going on around here, too. I see patches of grass here and there, but not in our yard. We're in for some cold temps today and tomorrow, but at least there's no snow in the forecast. I've enjoyed the sunshine these past few days! :)

  12. Les, this is a pretty common thing around here. Everybody talks about and waits for the January thaw.


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