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      Cold Autumn: 1976

      Satellite temperatures since 1979 compared to climate model forecasts. Notice the peak in 1998. Temperatures have been flat since then.

      On September 10, 1976, Ironwood recorded a record low of 32 degrees. That's not all that cold--several U.P. locations have already had temperatures in that range since late summer. What was remarkable about the 1976 chill was its frequency. From early August on there were eight record lows that are still in the books at Ironwood. Keep in mind that Ironwood's records go back to the turn-of-the-century, so eight records inside of about a month is remarkable.

      Autumn 1976 was cold and dry across Upper Michigan and much of the Midwest (Image 1 above). The dry fall followed a dry summer that brought the largest wildfire in recent Michigan history to the U.P. Below average precipitation and well below average temperatures continued to be the rule as fall evolved into winter. By the end of November, residents were shivering in below zero temperatures, including a record 18 below zero-reading at Ironwood--the coldest so early in the season.

      The winter of 1976-77 was the beginning of a series of severe winters in the late 1970s. This was the depths of the last natural cooling cycle just as the great â??Climate Shiftâ?? occurred. After that, temperatures began to warm and reached their peak globally around 2000. Since then, temperatures have been flat (Image 2). In fact, there has been no global warming since 1998.