March 11, 2015 - UNITED STATES - This winter has been the season that literally divided America into two.
This stunning weather map shows how those in the west of the country enjoyed one of the warmest February's on record, while those in the east endured heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.
The extreme contrast in temperatures has been put down to global warming and the melting sea ice in the Arctic by some experts, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.
The map has been produced using data from NASA's Terra satellite and shows how temperatures this February compared with those over the last ten years..
The satellite recorded the land surface temperature and the map shows a clear divide right down the middle of the country.
The areas that experienced cooler than average conditions are coloured in blue, normal appear white, and those in red were warmer than average.
The mercury soared some 10 degrees approve than average in the western half and those in the east saw temperatures 10 degrees below average.
Statewide data showed that no state experienced record cold temperatures in February, but many cities broke their own records, according to Live Science.
In New York a new low of minus 13 degrees was set, beating its old record by 1.6 degrees.
Last month huge ice sheets formed on the surface of New York's Hudson River forcing the US Coastguard to deploy ice breakers in order to keep shipping and ferry traffic moving.
Ferry operators in the city described it as the worst winter they had experienced in more than 28 years. A huge ice volcano also appeared in a New York Park.
Records were also broken in the likes of Worcester and Massachusetts.
In contrast record highs were set in the likes of Washington, Nevada, and California during February, according to the website.
California is in the midst of a three year drought that has been caused by a combination of record high temperatures and sparse rainfall.
This has produced the worst conditions in 1,200 years, according to a study.
Experts predict it will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) -- around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir - for California to recover.
NASA's Earth Observatory said: 'Most meteorologists attribute the sharply contrasting temperatures to the combination of a persistent ridge of high pressure—nicknamed the "Ridiculously Resilient Ridge"—over the northeastern Pacific Ocean, and an equally persistent trough that has funneled chilly air from the Arctic into central North America.
'But why that resilient ridge has appeared over the northeastern Pacific during the last few winters is a more complicated and controversial question among experts.
'A new line of research suggests that the loss of Arctic sea ice associated with global warming may be causing the jet stream to slow down and become wavier, thus setting up the unusual pattern over North America.
'Other researchers think there could be a link between Siberian snowfall and mid-latitude weather extremes.
'Still others think changes in the Arctic have little to do with mid-latitude weather extremes; instead they see periods with an anomalously sharp gradient in sea surface temperature in the far western Pacific as the key factor. All participants looking at the question agree: more research is needed.' - Daily Mail.