I admit that I am confused.

For years I've read about the effects of global warming. If the Earth is warming, why are we experiencing frigid arctic blasts even before winter's official starting date this year?

Winter weather has gripped most of the United States in the last couple of weeks. To blame the unusual weather on global warming seems like a contradiction, but that is what scientists think is happening.

Recent studies indicate the dramatic warming in the Arctic during the past few decades may actually be responsible for the extreme weather.

The loss of sea ice cover may be changing the patterns of atmospheric circulation across the Northern Hemisphere, allowing solar radiation to warm the sea and air, which in turn is helping to shift arctic air southward.

According to Climate Central on the Web, one meteorologist explains it this way:

"This pattern is kind of like leaving the refrigerator door ajar. The refrigerator warms up, but all the cold air spills out into the house."

The cold weather makes me feel like this penguin I made with instructions from the makers of Styrofoam brand foam.

This is a difficult project. Younger children will need help from an adult to complete it. Adjust the sizes of the felt pieces according to the size foam you use.

Supplies you will need:

Styrofoam egg and ball.

Black, orange and red felt.

2 small black beads, pompoms or buttons.

1 corsage pin.

Low temperature glue gun.

Scissors.

Push down the egg ends on a table to flatten. Do the same on one side of the ball.

Cut a piece of black felt into a rectangle to wrap around egg from the back, leaving the front of the Styrofoam egg uncovered. Glue the middle of the rectangle to the center of the back of the egg. Round off the corners at the top two edges of felt and glue to the front. Glue the felt to the bottom and back of the egg. Trim the corners.

Cut a piece of black felt long and wide enough to fit around the ball. Glue it on opposite the flat side, leaving one side uncovered for the penguin's face. Glue the ball to the egg for a head.

Cut a strip of black felt for the wings. Round off the edges and glue the center of the strip and the sides to the body of the penguin, leaving a few inches free.

Use black felt to make a hat with two round circles, one small and one larger, and a rectangle of felt. Glue the rectangle into a tube and glue the top and bottom of the tube to the circles. Make a headband of red felt and glue to the hat just above the bottom brim. Glue hat to top of head.

Glue a narrow strip of red felt where the head and body meet. Cut out a bow-tie shape from the red felt. Hold the bow-tie shape against the strip of red felt and push the corsage pin into the center of the bow to hold.

Fold a small rectangle of orange felt in half for a beak. Glue the edges together and use scissors to round the cut sides. Glue the beak to the front of the face.

Glue two small beads, pompoms or buttons above for eyes.

Fold two small rectangles of orange felt in half and glue together. Cut V-shapes out of the ends and glue to the bottom of the egg for feet.