There is much denial disbelief going around about our ever changing world. Are the winters getting colder? Are the summers getting hotter? Are the ice-caps melting? What's going on?

Fortunately there are systems keeping track. And there are simple ways of plotting the data. One plot, available from Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS), is a temperature trend plot by month of the year. Here is a plot of temperature trend by month of the year (horizontal) by latitude (vertical) for the last 17 years.

Temperature trend since 1995
© Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS)
Figure 1 is a zonal trend plot by month for the period 1995 to the present. Horizontal axis = months of the year Jan – Dec; vertical axis = latitude.

Note that temperatures for latitudes 40 to 60 degrees north are trending colder for most of the winter, from mid-November to mid-February, the coldest period for a month centered on the 1st of February. On the rim of Antarctica, the trending-colder month is June, the Antipodes mid-winter.

So, yes, winters are getting colder. Here is the corresponding map showing precisely where the winters are getting colder.
Global temperature trend
© Goddard Institute of Space Science (GISS)
Figure 2 is a global map of the trends plotted in Figure 1.

Note that nearly all the continental areas in the northern hemisphere where people actually live, with the exception of India, are experiencing colder winters. The chart also shows Europe's Alps region is getting significantly colder in the winter time, too, just as German meteorologist Dominik Jung found when evaluating data from the Austrian Weather Service, read: Austrian meteorologists stupefied.

I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to look at the cooling pattern in the Southern Hemisphere winter. Note that it looks a lot like the pattern for the southern hemisphere summer. Now ask why the Antarctic sea ice is expanding.

Now for those who get all excited about Arctic warming, I would like to point out the dearth of weather stations in that region, and my previous article about bias in the surface measurements. There are exactly three weather stations used by GISS that are north of 80 degrees. Alert on Ellesmere Island is one of them. It is that light blue rectangle at the top just left of center in Figure 2. It is getting cooler in the winter. One other is a Russian station on Hayes Island in the Franz Josef Archipelago. It is getting cooler in the summer. The third is Nord on northern Greenland. It is getting warmer in all seasons. I believe it has siting issues.

The continents warm and cool faster than the oceans. The continental cooling we are observing will be followed by ocean cooling. It is already happening in the southern ocean in all seasons and in the summer tropics.