By Professor Sir Brian Hoskins
The US has been suffering from icy weather and snow storms in recent days. This image from NOAA shows the surface air temperature anomaly for the week 2-8 December – that is the difference from the mean temperature for this time of the year.
It was very cold over North America (where we get lots of news from!) but very warm in Eurasia and parts of the Arctic (where we don’t!). This is the sort of thing the atmosphere can do on short timescales through having a particular pattern of weather.