Theater of the Absurd Seasons

Here in Minnesota, we have enjoyed an unusually mild winter, and now it seems to be rushing pell-mell into summer. The thermometer has edged over 70 degrees several times this week, and today I think it got up to 75 or so. This is truly extraordinary for mid-March in Minnesota; March ties with February as Minnesota’s snowiest month, on the average.

A few days ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune posted this photo of a young woman who may have been the first Minnesotan this year to don a bikini. I’m sure she was a little chillier than she looks–you can see ice in the background–but by now the ice is probably gone, as it is on our pond:

To fully appreciate how extraordinary this is, check out this photo that I took on the same day, March 13, in 2006:

Here is another one taken on the same day in 2006. Not exactly bikini weather:

2006 was no outlier. Here is a photo that I took in our neighborhood on April 5, 2009–three weeks ahead of where we are now, on the calendar:

This is what April 1 looked like last year:

So the freakishly warm weather that we are enjoying now really is beyond bizarre. The Minneapolis Star Tribune provided this explanation:

The global systems known as La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation have teamed up to keep the jet stream running along the Canadian border, holding storms to the north and allowing warm air from the south to spread across much of the northern United States. Lack of reflective snow cover, meanwhile, has allowed more solar radiation to warm the air at ground level than in most winters and early springs.

I, for one, took the day off today to enjoy it.