Warm Chicago-Area Temperatures Coming From El Nino: Meteorologists

Chicagoans are used to the brutal cold of a typical winter, but this December has been anything but normal.

The National Weather Service said in a statement on Monday that 50 degree days have been unusually common this December. In fact, there have been nine days with highs of 50 or more this December in both Chicago and Rockford.

It is likely that the high on Wednesday Dec. 23rd will also exceed 50 degrees, the NWS said. If the temperature stays warm enough through 12 a.m. on Dec. 24th, another 50 degree day will be added.

Consequently, it’s not looking like Chicago will have a white Christmas this year.

So what is causing the warm temps? Experts are quick to dismiss global warming.

"If this record breaking December warmth was 100% the result of global warming we all would be in big trouble,” NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said via email. “Thankfully these abnormally warm temperatures are nearly all the result of our strong El Niño."

Weather Channel Digital Meteorologist Linda Lam echoed Karins, explaining that El Niño plays a role in the atmospheric pattern.

“In this case, the jet stream is being pushed north over eastern Canada and there is an area of high pressure in the western Atlantic,” Lam said via email. “The combination of the two is allowing southerly surface winds to draw warm air northward.

"The temperature rise from global warming in most cases is not noticeable in everyday life but in strong El Niño's like this one everybody feels the effects in their everyday lives," Karins said.

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