Weather-wise, this has been a rather strange and memorable winter. A North American polar vortex and frigid Mars-like temperatures will do that. As this new NASA Earth Observatory map beautifully illustrates, it has been an anomalous winter, indeed.
The map above shows land surface temperature anomalies in North America for Jan. 1 to 7, 2014. Data was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite.
The map depicts temperatures for this period compared to the 2001–2010 average for the same week. Areas with warmer than average temperatures are shown in red, near-normal temperatures are white, and areas that were cooler than the base period are shown in blue.
A second map shows temperature anomalies in Europe during the same period (grey represents areas where clouds blocked the satellite from collecting usable data.):