The Winter of 2012 in the High Sierra

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 22 February 2012

The Winter of 2012 in the High Sierra

"What a long, strange trip its been..."

January 6, 2012: The incredibly strange weather we have been experiencing for the past 30 years on the West Coast of the United States years has now come to full fruition: The Western United States, and especially the Sierra Nevada Mountains are experiencing a Winter that is not Winter.

The High Sierra Weather Page offers a wide range of resources to track current Sierra Nevada conditions from a web of ground reporting stations, forecast and reporting tools, satellite and radar resources, as well as road and park conditions.

All of these resources indicate that the change in seasonal patterns we have been experiencing have now "crossed the Rubicon." We now hike in mountains, heck, we now walk in a world that has completely different weather patterns than those of 30 years ago.


Thirty years ago I was first made uneasy by the rise of strange shifts in the prevailing winds. Twenty years ago I observed and warned of grim omens indicated by the general change in the direction of the prevailing winds. Winds from the South and West have replaced the prevailing Northwest Winds during Wintertime.

The replacement of Northern with Southern winds has brought radical disruptions to the ocean current circulation and nutrient rich upwellings along the Pacific Coast. These trends are reinforced by the failure of the heat of Summertime to retreat during Fall and Winter. Combined, these factors have now radically altered the timing and character of the seasons.

Today the winds no longer cycle through their historic patterns through their seasonal progression, the seasons have different lengths and characters, the traditional nutrient-rich ocean current upwellings along the Pacific Coast are disturbed, if not stopped, and the length and character of all of the seasons have radically shifted.

Normal wind patterns and seasons are now abnormal, abnormal weather patterns are now the "New Normal." Get used to it. This current screwed-up weather pattern is only one quick step along the short trail we are hiking to a completely different climate.

Winter winds and storm now blow into the Sierras from the West and Southwest, rather than the traditional prevailing Winter winds out of the Northwest. The Arctic has lost its power as the generator of Winter weather patterns for the Northern Pacific and Western United States. Tropical heat from the Equator now dominates our Winter weather pattern.

I was so disturbed by these devastating changes as they were emerging that in 2006 I began publicly warning of the gravity and consequences of the changes that few noticed, and now this pattern is the basis of "the new normal" along the Western shore of North America. Well, it's the new normal for a "minute."


The changes in the climate and seasons are happening so rapidly that each year is bringing new and completely unprecedented weather patterns and catastrophic events. (Brief Article. Environmental Link List.) A review of this massive list of environmental breakdowns may indicate to you the gravity of the situation we now confront.

We have unhinged the Engines of Life on the planet Earth.


The consequences of these changes are devastating the Sierra Eco System, and have already removed the ability of the State of California to provide water to its bloated population before the end of this decade.

Our idiot leaders have not yet figured this out, but it will be both amusing and depressing to watch as they come to full realization of the desperate situation their irresponsible growth and endless development policies, the products of policies of corruption and greed, have carved into the face of nature, as well as critically damaging our polity, our society, and our economy.

Corporations and their legions of consumers have eaten our democracy, our country, and our planet.

You should be very worried when our weather is as volatile as our markets as unstable as our society, and as dangerous as our politicians. Especially as all of our environmental and social systems have been driven to the very edge of failure by the corruption of our most fundamental values..


Enough preaching. Here's some solid Winter Backpacking Information. Not that you will need it anytime soon...

Winter Backpacking Information

Winter Gear Selection: Text and Videos

Winter planning and food considerations: Text and Videos

Winter Trips


Winter Trip Videos I

Winter Trip Videos II


Normal wind patterns and seasons are now abnormal, abnormal weather patterns are now the new normal.


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