What Happened To Winter 2024?

I have never seen a winter like this. Snow arrived late and most of it melted before Christmas. We received some snowfall in January and that brought back better conditions for cross country skiing and fat biking for a brief period of time. From January 25 until February 10 the daily high in Sault Ste. Marie reached above 0 celsius every day. During that same period of time we only received 9.2 cm of snow.

Skiing and fat biking conditions have gradually gotten worse, leading to a closure of the cross country ski trails for a few days this past weekend. For the first time ever, I’ve been riding my gravel bike on area roads throughout the months of January and February. The pictures below taken roughly one year apart shows the big difference between last winter (a fairly normal winter) and this winter.

The unseasonably mild conditions and lack of snowfall this winter is being attributed to the El Nino – Southern Oscillation. El Nino is a climate phenomenon that occurs in the Pacific Ocean every 2-7 years with varying intensity. The warming sea surface temperatures affect weather patterns around the world. Climate change may also be leading to these unseasonable conditions.

While I do enjoy riding my gravel bike, I’m hoping to see a return to colder and snowier weather for the last two weeks of February.