Though meteorological winter — defined as Dec. 1 through March 1 — came to a close last Friday, you’d have a hard time knowing that based on the snowy, shiver-inducing weather that continues to plague much of the Midwest and East Coast.

Still, the bitterly cold, snowy weather experienced in much of the country this winter — introducing the term “polar vortex” to us — is something of an anomaly when compared to the rest of the planet: heat waves have hit Australia and temperatures have also been above normal in parts of Russia and much of China. All told, the southern hemisphere has seen its warmest start to a year on record.

Some parts of the United States have also seen wildly varying winters. For example, while Chicago’s winter has officially ranked as the city’s third-coldest on record (and the coldest ever according to another measure), Miami has had exactly the opposite sort of winter with its third-warmest on record.

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