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Weather Blog

Weather geeks unite!

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What happens when you put almost 4,000 meteorologists, climatologists, social scientists, and data miners in one convention center? People talk about the weather, of course!

Last week was the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, and for the first time in over a decade, I attended. The size of the meeting was overwhelming to say the least. With dozens of conferences and symposia embedded within the larger meeting, there was no shortage of options to choose from. Some were technical, getting into the minutia of radar, satellites, programming and coding. Others were discussions about how to effectively communicate confidence or lack thereof in a forecast, risk to different subsections of the public, and what we know and don’t know about climate change.

With the partial government shutdown in place, there were fewer attendees this year. Many who work for the EPA, NOAA and NASA were unable to travel. That situation led to several talks being canceled because the speakers and moderators worked for those federal agencies. For example, I was disappointed to learn that one keynote speech was canceled because Administrator of NASA Jim Bridenstine, who was the speaker, could not attend.

While our cohorts and the education and information they would have imparted were certainly missed, there was still an abundance of insight and wisdom to be gained. I spent most of my time in the sessions focused on education, communication, and risk mitigation. I rubbed elbows with broadcast meteorologists, federal employees (who were willing to foot their own travel bills), and employees of private industries – all of whom were trying to improve their understanding of current scientific knowledge and share their professional experiences in the field.

In future posts, I’ll share some of what I gleaned from my trip. For now, suffice it to say that there are thousands of people from around the world who traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, to spend nearly a week talking about the weather, how it affects everyone, and what we can do to keep lives and property safe.

Weather Blog

Oh, the pressure!

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(Originally written for Allen Publishing’s print products published on January 3, 2019)


Meteorologists talk about barometric pressure or atmospheric pressure when explaining the forecast. We use the terms “low pressure” and “high pressure” to describe the causes for different types of weather. We throw around terms like millibars as if everyone understands what we’re talking about, but do they? Not necessarily.

So, what is pressure in weather terms?

If pressure in general is the force exerted on a unit area, then atmospheric pressure is the force exerted by the atmosphere on a specific area. We use the term barometric pressure almost interchangeably with atmospheric pressure because we use barometers to measure atmospheric pressure.

There are different types of barometers and units used to quantify pressure. The two most common units are inches of mercury and millibars (mb). In a mercury barometer, a column of mercury is used to physically show the amount of pressure on the column. The column will expand or shrink dependent upon the pressure exerted on it by the air surrounding it. The measurement is taken in inches of mercury. Measured this way, the global average air pressure at the surface of the earth is 29.92 inches of mercury.

Millibars are used more often by meteorologists. They are the lines typically seen on weather maps of sea level pressure. It’s not really a metric system unit, although it would be easy to assume that’s the case since in most other situations, the two most common units are based on the British and metric systems. In fact, mercury barometers can give their readings in millimeters of mercury, so they are the metric system version as well as the British system version of pressure reading.

Instead, a millibar is a pressure unit of 1,000 dynes per square centimeter, which is an old way of measuring pressure. Millibars are convenient for reporting atmospheric pressure despite the fact that you don’t see it used for much else. Measured this way, the global average air pressure at the surface of the earth is 1013.25 mb.

When the atmosphere exerts more force per area, we call the pressure “high.” When it exerts less, we call the pressure “low.” Often during the winter, high pressure systems in the mid-latitudes will exert pressure in the 1030 mb to 1040+ mb range. Low pressure systems crossing the continent can bring pressure in the range around 990 mb. By contrast, at her peak intensity, Hurricane Florence’s pressure was measured at 939 mb.

Atmospheric pressure plays a huge role in our weather. High pressure brings clear skies because the air is sinking to ground level. Low pressure brings unsettled weather – possibly even stormy – because the air is rising, which creates clouds and rain. The area directly under the center of a high-pressure system often has calm or very light winds. The area between a system of high pressure and one of low pressure can be quite breezy because the air wants to move from high pressure to low pressure. The closer the two systems are to one another, the windier it is.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the winds around a high-pressure system flow in a clockwise direction away from the center, and the winds around a low-pressure system go counter-clockwise toward the center. Remember, the air wants to go toward where the pressure is lower.

The movement of these systems determines the hour-to-hour and day-to-day forecasts for any given location. They bring our weather.

One thing to note: for this discussion, I’m writing about the weather and the pressure at the earth’s surface. Meteorologists also consider the air pressure at different levels above the ground, which is why you sometimes hear us mentioning an upper level or mid-level low bringing a change in the forecast.

map example of pressure

Credit: National Weather Service. The blue H on the map represents the center of high pressure. The red L represents the center of low pressure. Winds rotate clockwise and outward from the high pressure center and counter-clockwise and inward toward the center of low pressure.

Weather Blog

2018’s notable weather

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(Originally written for Allen Publishing’s print products on January 10, 2019)

The weather word for 2018 across much of North Carolina was “wet.” In fact, records for the wettest year on record fell one after the other in the last few weeks of the year.

According to my count on the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s CLIMPER tool, which maps data recorded at official and coop weather stations, 24 locations – excluding duplicate reporting stations such as Greensboro area versus the Greensboro airport – broke records for the wettest year on record.

2018 reord rainfal map

Credit: Southeast Regional Climate Center. Map showing cities and towns in the region with record-breaking or near record-breaking precipitation in 2018.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport recorded 60.29 inches of precipitation, which made 2018 its wettest year in the 74 years reports have been made at that station. Other record-breakers included Wilmington with 102.4 inches, New Bern with 79.18 inches, Greensboro with 64.11 inches, and Asheville with 79.49 inches.

Hurricanes Florence and Michael certainly assisted in reaching those milestones. However, anyone who tried to get yardwork done on the weekends can tell you more often than not, those plans were rained out, or at the very least soggy. In fact, the majority of the weekends in 2018 produced reported rainfall across the state.

Another record that fell at RDU International back in January was the most consecutive hours at or below 32 degrees when we hit 158, surpassing the record of 157 set in 1982. We spent the first 7 days of the year at or below freezing. The snow and ice that fell during a winter storm lingered in some areas for a week as the temperature struggled to get warm enough to make a difference.

RDU temp plot for January 2018

Credit: National Weather Service. RDU temperature plot for January 2018 showing a stretch of extremely cold weather that month.

Across the country, there was another trend in 2018 worth noting. Only this time, it was due to a lack of something happening. For the first time since 1950, there were no tornadoes rated EF-4 or EF-5 reported anywhere in the United States. Ironically, the same day I read that headline was the day I saw an abstract for a research letter entitled “Increasingly powerful tornadoes in the United States.” To be fair, the article reported on a study of the period 1994-2016.

Much of the country experienced a late winter/early spring with unusually cold weather, which limited tornado activity during what is usually the peak season for Tornado Alley. Of course, tornadoes don’t have to be highly rated on the Enhanced Fujita scale to be deadly. Ten people died as a result of tornadoes in 2018. While much lower than average, the number still represents tragic loss.

With last year behind us, we can now look ahead to 2019 and speculate on what the weather will bring. Perhaps an abnormally cold late January due to the weakening of the polar vortex? Possibly a few more inches of wintry precipitation? Or maybe a more active tornado season? Only time will tell for sure.

Weather Blog

What weather will the new year bring?

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(Note: This was written on December 20th for the December 27th Wake Weekly and Butner-Creedmoor News due to early deadlines.)


December started with a bang as far as the weather was concerned. Colder-than-normal temperatures and frozen precipitation hinted at a long cold winter to come. Thankfully, this week is milder, and a short stretch of dry days is giving our soggy yards a chance to recover. So, what’s next? What will the rest of the winter be like?

As of this writing, all signs point to the rest of December being in the normal range, which means high in the lower 50s and lows in the lower 30s. Of course, there may be a colder or warmer day embedded in the next week, but on average, the forecast looks… well… average.

January doesn’t look as promising for those of us who prefer the milder weather. I’ve been following several long-range forecasters over the past few weeks. Based on the global patterns that affect the weather across the United States, it looks like most of the country, including the east coast, will be plunged into below-normal temperatures.

One of the things forecasters watch is called the Madden-Julian Oscillation, and it’s a complicated thing to explain. The gist of it is by watching where thunderstorms are firing over the Indian Ocean and western equatorial Pacific Ocean, meteorologists can make an educated guess at what the U.S. will experience about 14 to 15 days later.

The most famous pattern long-range forecasters consider is the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in this area signal an El Nino year. Cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures signal a La Nina year. When the temperature falls somewhere in between, it’s called ENSO neutral. As of this month, it looks like we should be experiencing an El Nino winter, but the air circulation patterns that normal accompany the warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures have been slow to show up.

There is also an Arctic Oscillation, which affects the weather and climate on an annual to decadal scale. It’s not very well understood yet, so researchers are studying it in earnest. So far, it appears that a warmer Arctic region during the winter causes a weakening of the polar vortex, which leads to changes in the jet stream and causes winter storms to dip farther into the southern U.S.

These are just three of the factors that seasonal forecasters consider when predicting the weather for weeks to months out. Right now, they seem to be adding up to a cold and potentially stormy January.

I’ll add my usual disclaimer about long-range forecasts here: There are still so many factors that go into creating the weather we don’t fully understand or know how to reliably account for in computer models that it’s quite possible even the most trusted seasonal prognosticators could be wrong. Only time will tell.

Weather Blog

New research upends theory on tornado formation

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I’ll admit it! I get excited when new research has the potential of turning the current most widely accepted theory on its head. Pushing the boundaries of our knowledge is what science is about!

One example: AGU meeting provides new insights

At the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, D.C., on December 10-14, researchers presented some exciting news: Tornadoes may form from the bottom up, according to a small sample of recently studied tornadic storms, including the deadly May 31, 2013, El Reno tornado. That particular twister was witnessed, photographed, and videotaped by more scientists and citizens than most tornadoes because it happened in a heavily populated area. Storm chasers and tornado researchers were present. Rapid scan mobile radar was deployed and sampled the storm every 16 seconds at heights lower than are possible for standard stationary radar and allowed data to be collected much closer to the ground.

When the researchers combined the mobile radar data and the collected still and video images, they were able to see evidence that the tornado formed from the ground up. The current, most widely accepted theory has been that tornadoes form from the top down. Of course, the reason researchers continue to study tornadoes in the field is scientists know there is still much to be learned and understood about tornado formation.

The small sample set used in this study included five tornadoes total. All seemed to form from the bottom up. The challenge now is to collect more data from more tornadoes. Part of the scientific process is being able to repeat the experiment in the same way and find the same results. Repeatability is difficult with tornadoes since we still don’t know why some storms form a tornado and some don’t. That fact makes it hard to deploy mobile radar near the perfect storms.

Learning how tornadoes form will help scientists in their quest for understanding why they form. Knowing why they form will help lengthen warning times and cut down on false alarms, which will in turn save lives. A meteorologist’s ultimate goal is the protection of life and property. This study appears to be a new step in that direction.

Map courtesy of the National Weather Service
Weather Blog

Breaking records already

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This past weekend’s winter storm is one for the history books in the Triangle. The snowfall records at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport for both December 9 and 10 were smashed with seven inches on Sunday and 1.9 inches on Monday. Our high temperature on Monday tied for the third lowest maximum (coldest high) temperature for the date at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. As of this morning, RDU’S official snowfall total from the last two days stands at 8.9 inches, which is 8.7 inches more than normal for the season so far.

The average annual snowfall for the Triangle is about 5 to 7 inches depending on the source data. With just one storm, we surpassed that quite early in the season. Does that mean it’s over – we’ve had our winter, and the rest of the season will be warmer and dry? Of course not. In fact, climatology tells us that our best chance for snow and ice storms comes between mid-January and mid-March. The reason we easily broke two days’ worth of snowfall records last weekend is simply because we rarely get measurable snow in early December.

If you look at the Climate Prediction Center’s monthly map published on November 30 for December, you’ll see its climatologists predicted above-average chances for warmer-than-normal temperatures for most of the country this month. While we do have a hole to dig out of this week, it does look like we’ll see closer to average temperatures starting this weekend.

December cpc map
Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. The map shows above-average chances (in orange shading) for most of the country to experience warmer-than-normal temperatures during the month of December.

Unfortunately, heavy rain is possible with the storm system that will move through Friday and Saturday. With the ground saturated from melted snow from last weekend’s storm, flooding is likely across the region if we experience the couple inches of rain forecasted by the Weather Prediction Center.

After a brief warm-up through the next couple of weeks, signals in the global oscillations that meteorologists often watch are pointing to another cool down around New Year’s which could lead into another colder-than-average January. Only time will tell if that prediction will play out. However, even in an average January, additional snow and ice are possible. It is winter after all.

Regular readers of this blog know I do not put a lot of stock in long-range forecasts. However, in the last year, I’ve learned more about those global oscillations mentioned above and why they are worth paying attention to, especially in winter. El Nino/La Nina is the most famous of them, but there are others that are just as important to our seasonal predictions. I’ll continue to monitor all of them in an effort to see which seems to be the most dominant with respect to this winter’s outcomes and report back as the season goes on.

Weather Blog

It’s NC Winter Weather Preparedness Week

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This week is North Carolina’s Winter Weather Preparedness Week – time to transition our thought processes from autumn and hurricane season to winter safety.

National Weather Service Definitions

Blizzard Warning – Severe winter weather is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring – including whiteout conditions. Do not travel.

Winter Storm Warning – Dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. Considerable travel problems are expected.

Winter Weather Advisory – Potentially dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring. Travel difficulties are expected.

Snow Squall – An intense, but limited duration period of moderate to heavy snowfall, accompanied by strong, gusty surface winds and possibly lightning. Snowfall rates may be significant.

The absolute worst-case scenario – one that we rarely see in the Triangle – is a blizzard. High winds whip heavy snow around and lower visibility to nearly zero. Nobody should be on the road in a blizzard. Your inability to see what’s in front of you means that other people can’t see what’s in front of them either. A bunch of snow-blind drivers on the road will only lead to misery.

Typically, around here, we experience winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories. The warning is issued when road conditions are expected to deteriorate to the point where travel is hazardous and should be avoided. The advisory is usually issued when some icy and slushy spots are expected, but it may not be widespread or long lived. Travel is still discouraged, but if you must travel, you should slow down, leave extra stopping space between you and the car ahead of you, and avoid any distractions while driving. (These are good driving rules in general, but especially in hazardous conditions.)

A snow squall is a dangerous situation because of the white-out conditions it creates. We don’t see this situation often in the Triangle, but under the right circumstances, it’s possible. If snow squall warning is issued for your area, stay put. It will only last up to three hours. Once it is over, you can check road conditions to determine if it’s safe to travel.

Driving prepared

You’ve probably heard the advice to keep your tank over half-full during the winter. This practice helps avoid problems caused when condensation freezes and collects into icy blockages in your fuel lines. It also helps ensure you’ll have plenty of fuel to run your car for heat if you are stranded somewhere.

Cold weather can affect your car battery by slowing down the chemical reactions that take place inside it. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your car battery can lose about 35% of its strength, and it gets worse as the temperature drops.

AAA suggests using a quarter to check your tires’ tread. “When the top of Washington’s head is exposed, the tread depth is 4/32 inches or less and it’s time to start shopping for new tires.” Keep your tires properly inflated as well. Always use a reliable tire gauge and the manufacturer’s recommended pressure when you check them regularly.

Another useful tip that I’ve needed firsthand is to keep cat litter, or something similar, in your car to use on the road for traction if your car gets stuck. It’s also a good idea to keep a blanket, water, and some snacks in the car for the same reason. If you get stranded and are low on fuel, you’ll need a way to stay warm. Keep your cell phone charged. Charging it in the car while the engine isn’t running adds to battery drain.

Living prepared

Winter weather preparedness at home is similar to hurricane preparedness in some ways. You’ll want to have your emergency kit ready. If the power goes out, having a way to stay warm in your home – a generator, a fire place and dry wood, etc. Battery or kinetically-powered lanterns and a NOAA weather radio will be helpful, too. If you don’t have a fireplace or a generator, have a backup place to stay in case the power goes out for an extended period of time.

Checking the forecast often

In our part of North Carolina, winter weather forecasts are dynamic to say the least. They usually change with every model run. The mountains to our west and the coast to our east create the possibility for cold air damming (CAD) scenarios and coastal lows/Nor’easters. Both can bring anything from rain to ice to snow to the Triangle.

Whether we experience rain or frozen precipitation with a CAD scenario depends on how far east the cold air that’s damming up against the mountains extends and how deep the cold layer is. The farther east and deeper the layer, the more likely we see snow. A shallow cold layer may bring sleet or freezing rain. If the cold air stays to our west, we’ll likely just see rain if anything.

The opposite is true with a coastal storm. The proximity of the storm to the coastline and how quickly the cold air moves into our area determine what kind of precipitation we see.

In both cases, the details of the forecast are difficult to nail down until the storm actually takes shape. The forecast models tend to suffer from low resolution more than a few days in advance. The ingredients needed to create the winter weather may not really fall into place as the models predict. Sometimes they do, but sometimes the cold air doesn’t arrive until after the precipitation ends. Other times, the air at the surface is drier than expected and the precipitation takes longer to reach the surface, limiting precipitation amounts. Don’t assume the winter weather forecast you see today will be the situation that plays out two days from now.

winter storm definitions

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service

Weather Blog

Facts and uncertainty about Earth’s climate

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Fact: Earth’s average annual temperature is rising.

Fact: There was a considerable slow-down, referred to as a pause, in Earth’s warming trend from about the year 2000 through about 2012.

Fact: Sea level overall is rising – although not uniformly around the world due to the rising and sinking of land masses.

sea level rise

This chart, courtesy of, shows the global average absolute sea level change from 1880-2015. Absolute sea level change takes into account the rising and falling of land in locations where those events are occurring.

Fact: Scientists are pretty sure the sun is heading into a minimum with respect to sunspot activity, which is leading to the cooling of the outermost part of Earth’s atmosphere. How long it will last and how much it will affect our surface weather is yet to be determined.

Fact: Using air bubbles trapped in ice cores, scientists have concluded that in the past 400,000 years, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has not been has high as it is now (since the about 1950). That is not to say “never,” but only to say as long as we can look back using the ice cores as a proxy.

Fact: There is still a fair amount of uncertainty regarding how long-term (decadal and multi-decadal) oscillations in the oceans and atmosphere influence the average global temperature of the planet.

Fact: There are also things that are difficult to account for in modeling future scenarios that can affect the global temperature including volcanic activity, future energy use, and solar activity.

In order to have an intellectually honest and open conversation about climate change, one must consider all the facts. Of course, the ones listed above are not all the facts. They are the ones I can think up off the top of my head on a Monday morning after a long, holiday weekend.

Another requirement for honest discourse is embracing the unknowns and unanswered questions. This is where many people falter. Not knowing the answers can be scary. Knowing that finding the answers may prove the current hypotheses and theories wrong may be even scarier. It’s easier to use the word consensus and disparage those bold enough to ask questions than to face the possible reality that there is still so much that we don’t know we don’t know. (Yes, I meant to repeat those three words.)

Here’s another fact to which as a member of the media I can attest: the reporters, producers, and publishers of the world are the gatekeepers of critical information. In an age when that information must be conveyed in the shortest possible manner such as five to eight-second soundbites or tweets of a couple hundred characters or less, it’s not possible to tell the whole story, or even a fraction of the story, when it comes to complex scientific research. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you advertising or selling you to their advertisers.

In this blog, I do my best to present thought-provoking information when I’m not simply explaining the weather. It’s up to the readers to do the thinking and to seek out more information if they feel the need. I am always happy to point to my resources through hyperlinks and answers. I’m also always happy to seek out new resources as time permits. Feel free to send questions through my Facebook page or to my email:

Weather Blog

Thanksgiving Day weather records

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Raise your hand if you remember a warm and rainy Thanksgiving here. How about one that was sunny, but cold? Can you remember one when a few snowflakes flittered through the air? In the 20-plus years I’ve lived in this area, I think I’ve seen all three types of Thanksgiving Days. So, what’s normal for us?

To answer this question, I looked at the North Carolina Climate Office’s Holiday Climatology page for Thanksgiving. There are a couple of things to remember in this case: first, the actual date of Thanksgiving changes yearly since it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Sometimes that date falls pretty early in the month as it does this year. Sometimes it’s closer to the end of the month. That change makes it difficult to use the 30-year averages that meteorologists typically use when talking about “normal” weather for a specific date.

The second thing to keep in mind is that Wake Forest, Creedmoor, and Butner – the three locations I usually focus my forecasting on – do not have long-lived official weather recording sites used by the Climate Office. So, I have to look at Raleigh and Oxford as proxies for our towns.

That being said, here are some historical Thanksgiving weather data to use as trivia during your family gathering:

At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, records have been kept since 1892. Our warmest Thanksgiving on record there was November 28, 1985 with a low of 62 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 78 degrees. Our coldest on record was November 26, 1970, when residents woke to a low of 17 degrees and only saw a high of 41. November 26, 1992 was the wettest with 1.97 inches of rain.

Typically, Raleigh’s minimum temperature for Thanksgiving ranges from 30.5 to 46 degrees, and the maximum runs from 51 to 64.5 degrees. So, that coldest Raleigh Thanksgiving mentioned above was downright frigid with the highest temperature for the day being in the range of our typical morning low.

The weather records for Oxford have been kept in two different places. The first location served for the years 1920 through 1994. The second location picked up the records from March 1994 through the present.

The warmest Thanksgiving Day in either location occurred November 25, 2004, with a high temperature of 69 degrees and a low of 58. The coldest was November 23, 2000, with a high of 42 degrees and a low of 24. Back on November 28, 1963, 1.2 inches of rain fell in Oxford, making it the town’s wettest Thanksgiving Day on record.

Interestingly, the range for typical maximum and minimum temperatures vary by location with the older, no-longer-used site trending much warmer than the new one. The difference may be in the environment surrounding the instrument site locations – perhaps rural versus in town. It may also be in the type of instruments used. I will admit that I don’t know. However, I will give the ranges for the currently used site because I assume the location and instruments are more accurate given what we’ve learned over the years about proper placement and calibration.

Oxford’s typical maximum temperature range since 1994 is 45 to 60.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The range for the typical morning low is 27.5 to 41 degrees.


No matter the weather this year or where you’re spending the day, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Weather Blog

Giving thanks in a changing climate

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Our national day of gratitude is next Thursday. In Plimoth, New England – now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts – almost 400 years ago, the Pilgrims and the native Wampanoag tribe had a feast to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. The year was 1621, and the climate was cold. In fact, that year was just decades within range of the peak of the Little Ice Age.

There’s quite a bit of disagreement within the scientific community about exactly when the Little Ice Age began, but most agree that the coldest period within it started around 1650. There’s also some disagreement on the cause of the chilly climactic period. Some point to heightened volcanic activity, some to solar minima, and some to a change in the Earth’s orbit. It’s quite possible that many things contributed to the centuries-long cold spell. After all, climate is a complicated thing.

One fact seems certain: humans had to adapt or die in the face of a cooling planet. The Little Ice Age has been blamed for famine, changes in agricultural practices, and wars (indirectly). For example, when old ways of keeping warm weren’t enough, fireplace hoods and enclosed stoves were developed to make more efficient use of heat. Fossil fuels became more widely used for power toward the end of the period in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Can you imagine life in a strange, new world without our modern-day conveniences when the earth was at least one-degree Celsius cooler? Farm animals struggled to survive long, cold winters. The growing season was shorter. Disease was rampant.

In Plymouth, after two years of struggling, and with help from the local Native American tribe, the settlers finally had a successful harvest and something to celebrate. So, they had a community feast and gave thanks to the Creator for that success.

A tradition was born, and we still celebrate it today. Now we have accessible technology and more options for heating our homes in the winter and cooling them in the summer. We have flat-top stoves, microwaves, and television. We import our cranberries from Massachusetts to North Carolina, raise turkeys on gigantic farms, and wear synthetic fleece to keep the chill off when walking to our cars. Even on our worst days, we have so much for which to be thankful.

Our ability – humanity’s as a whole – to overcome the Little Ice Age by creating new technologies and adapting our lifestyles is the reason I don’t feel hopeless when thinking about the current state of the climate. When the going gets tough, we find new ways to get going. For example, we take old technology like wind mills and improve upon their efficiency and scale. We create new technology such as solar panels and graphene. And in the face of necessity, we find ways to make them more accessible and economical. We must! Because now, as always, humanity needs to adapt to a changing climate.