Times A-Changing

Those of you who have followed my blogging for a long time remember that I use to write some about climate change and the expected results because of it.  I slowly stopped writing about it as more and more people finally accepted the facts about global warming.

The half of my readers who do not live in the U.S. might not realize the differences between their weather and that of the U.S.  While the climate has changed and the globe has been slowly warming, many of you experienced unusually cold and snowy weather while those of us in the U.S. had the opposite.

For much of the U.S., 2012 was the year without a winter. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that not only was March the warmest on record in the U.S. (lower 48 states), but so too was the entire January-February-March period.

The average temperature across the U.S. was an incredible 8.6 degrees F above the 20th century average (half a degree warmer than the previous record from 1910). Aside from January, 2006, no month on record has surpassed its average by such a large margin.  It makes me wonder what it will be like in the future.

The following is a Summary of the Climate Highlights for March as reported by NOAA:

  • Record and near-record breaking temperatures dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation and contributed to the warmest March on record for the contiguous United States, a record that dates back to 1895. The average temperature of 51.1 degrees F was 8.6 degrees F above the 20th century average for March and 0.5 degrees F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. record began, only one month, January 2006, has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.
  • A persistent weather pattern during the month led to 25 states east of the Rockies having their warmest March on record. An additional 15 states had monthly temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. That same pattern brought cooler-than-average conditions to the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California.
  • Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March. According to preliminary data, there were 15,272 warm temperature records broken (7,755 daytime records, 7,517 nighttime records). Hundreds of locations across the country broke their all-time March records. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date.
  • The nationally-averaged precipitation total was 2.73 inches, which is 0.33 inch above average. The Pacific Northwest and the Southern Plains were much wetter than average during March while drier-than-average conditions were observed in the interior West, Northeast, and Florida. Colorado had its driest March on record.
  • According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of April 3rd, 36.8 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, a decrease from 38.7 percent at the end of February. Above-average precipitation across the Southern Plains improved long-term drought conditions across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
  • The warmer-than-average conditions across the eastern U.S. also created an environment favorable for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there were 223 preliminary tornado reports during March, a month that averages 80 tornadoes. The majority of the tornadoes occurred during the March 2-3 outbreak across the Ohio Valley and Southeast, which caused 40 fatalities and damages exceeding 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record 41 percent during March.  The extent of extremes in warm maximum (71 percent) and warm minimum (70 percent) temperatures was at or near record levels across the nation.  A record extent of extremes in both maximum and minimum temperatures covered all of the Northeast, Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley and Southeast regions during the month.
  • On March 9th, a cut-off low pressure system impacted the Hawaiian Islands, bringing heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms. A rare EF-0 tornado hit the towns of Lanikai and Kailua on Oahu, causing minor damage. A separate storm dropped a hailstone measuring 4.25 inches long, 2.25 inches tall, and 2 inches wide, the largest hailstone on record for the state.

One comment

  1. Aaron Cohen Photography

    This is a really interesting photo. Being a WordPress photographer as well, I was really glad I came across this post. The colors are simply beautiful, and it has a slight mysterious feel to it as well. Great job!