“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones I use to know.”
This had to be one of the most recognizable song lyrics out there during every Christmas season. I first got to know of “White Christmas” many, many years ago while growing up as a small boy in the streets of Singapore. Like many in the tropics, I had absolutely no idea what a "White Christmas" was then, and even thought vaguely it referred to Santa Claus white beard, but it did not stop me from singing that song made famous the world over by the crooning of the legendary Bing Crosby.
"White Christmas" was actually written in 1940 by an Irving Berlin for the 1942 movie "Holiday Inn" starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Berlin was in fact a Jew who found writing a song about Christmas most challenging, not belonging to the Christian faith. He drew upon his experiences of his childhood holidays in New York and Los Angeles, including Christmas Trees erected by neighbors when he was a boy. Little did Berlin know that the song will become an old time favorite, even after 60 long years.
Songs often reflect the times. As seen from the graph, the period 1915-45 was a period the globe experienced warming at a scale matching those seen during 1977-2000. In fact the warmest year for USA remains 1934 and then only 1998 according to NASA data. A snow covered Christmas Day was a rarity then and Berlin captured within its lyrics the nostalgia when snow was more common, perhaps explaining the sheer magnetism the song holds.
The planet undergoes a warm-cool oscillation on an average, every 25-30 years, correlating highly with a climatic phenomenon called Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) as seen in the graph. Living almost in a quarter of a century within the same cycle will tend to prompt almost anybody to forget what it meant living in an opposite cycle.
As was the case of Berlin in the 40s, it was also the same at turn of the millennium, wherein almost two decades of warming made most forget that a global cooling mode is next to come as part of earth’s natural climatic variability. An article in the UK’s Independent newspaper with a dateline 20 March 2000 best illustrated this popular fallacy when it predicted snow will become extinct:“Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives. Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives. Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.”According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become"a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is”Dr David Viner was of course a global warmist scientist belonging to UK’s premier climatic centre; the very same institution who predicted that that end of this millennium will see the planet warm 4 degrees Celsius, if greenhouse gases are left unchecked. It is based on their prediction that each year delegates from 190 countries gather to negotiate a treaty to cutting emissions to save the world from such a catastrophic temperature rise, as it took place in Cancun a few weeks ago.
How wrong the Independent was; is illustrated by the fact that 2010-2011 would be the third consequent winter which snowed in the UK. It was also the third year the CRU got their winter forecast, as the latter predicted three consequent milder winters in line with their global warming worldview. Last year bookies in the UK lost lot of money when a White Christmas materialized and this year, they are taking no chances, they have already slashed heavily the odds for it. Piers Corbyn of Weather Action, undoubtedly one of the best weather forecasters in the world, if not the best, predicted that this Christmas for UK is heading for a snow storm worst in 100 years. The blog ClimateRealists covers Corbyn’s prediction for Europe & UK:“Britain will be buried by the worst blizzards in almost a century in the coming days - as 12 inches of snow and 60mph-plus winds create 6ft snowdrifts and cause transport chaos.”Piers Corbyn predicts much of the same for much of the Northern Hemisphere. For US, he predicts:"The Midwest has already had tremendous snow deluges around 10-12 December but 'You ain't seen nothing yet' compared with what is going to hit NE USA including New York State in the period 25-31st December. This is likely to be one of the most significant snowfall/blizzard periods in NE & East USA for decades"The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) says the probability of below normal minimum and maximum temperatures for the country is high at 60-80 per cent in the northwest plains of India. The other global centres also predict high probability of below normal temperatures this winter. "The probabilistic forecast of temperatures issued by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (IMD) also indicates a high probability of below normal temperatures during the three months period of December 2010 to February, 2011. The mean minimum and maximum temperature for the month of December is 8.2 degree Celsius and 23 degrees. For January, it is 7.3 degree Celsius and 21.1 degrees while for February, it is 10.1 degrees and 21.1 degrees respectively.
The Himalayan states froze one month earlier than usual and as they did winter cold spreads in India early too. People in Kashmir shivered with the minimum temperature in Srinagar on 12th December being minus 3.8 degrees Celsius while it was minus 15 and minus 10 in Leh and Kargil towns of Ladakh region respectively. Kashmiris have already started wearing the loose 'pherans' under which they keep their 'kangris' or low-fire earthen pot woven into a willow wicker basket. Winter also tightened its grip on Himachal Pradesh. Keylong was the coldest town at a minimum temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius. State capital Shimla recorded a minimum of 3.8 degrees, a slight fall of mercury from the previous day.
Also feeling the chill were tourists in Rajasthan's only hill station of Mount Abu, where the mercury dipped to minus 1.5 degrees Celsius. 'The state is already experiencing two to three degrees below normal temperatures. The Southern states under the NE Monsoon effect have already been a below normal in temperatures for a couple of months now. Only northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were yet to feel the chill. But this could change by Christmas as the cold wave really begins in the country.
However, IMD forecast does not indicate the possibility of snowfall in Delhi. The all-time record for minimum temperature in Delhi for the month of December is 1.1 degree Celsius recorded on December 26, 1945 and that for January is -0.6 degrees recorded on January 16, 1935. In the recent past also near zero degree temperature (0.2 degree Celsius) was recorded on January 8, 2006. So would IMD be right as they were with their Monsoon forecast or end up with mud on their faces? Watch this space!