The front of the cathedral, snowblasted during the night.
The combination of snow, wind and freezing temperatures made being outside a chore this morning. The attendance at Mass was subsequently lower than usual and the walk towards the cathedral something like an obstacle course. Still, it was very much doable, although I wouldn’t want to have been outside the city, where motorways saw moving snowdunes and stalled cars. Decidedly un-Dutch circumstances.
NASA’s Terra sattellite shows that december really was colder in the northern hemisphere than usual, compared to the average temperatures between 2000 and 2008. The culprit is apparently something called the Arctic Oscillation. That has to do with the pressure difference between the mid-latitudes (temperate areas such as southern Canada and central Europe) and the Arctic which is smaller than usual, allowing cold air to creep southward and warmer air north.
The image also counters the thoughtless suggestion that one cold winter proves that there is no global climate change: the Greenland ice cap is quite a lot warmer than normal. Fun things may ensue if that melts.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Kevin Ward, based on data provided by the NASA Earth Observations (NEO) Project.