March 2012: warmest in U.S. history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:12 PM GMT on April 10, 2012

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Not only was March 2012 the warmest March in the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895, it was also the second most extreme month for warmth in U.S. history, said NOAA yesterday, in their monthly "State of the Climate" report. The average temperature of 51.1°F was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average for March, and 0.5°F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. weather records began in 1895, only one month--January 2006--had a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012. A remarkable 25 states east of the Rockies had their warmest March on record, and an additional 15 states had a top-ten warmest March. Only four states were cooler than average, with Alaska being the coldest (tenth coldest March on record.)


Figure 1. Temperature rankings for March 2012 in the Contiguous U.S. Twenty five states set records for warmest March in the 118-year records (red colors.) Image credit: NOAA.

March 2012: most daily records broken of any month since July 1936
A wunderground analysis of weather records from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center temperature record database reveals that more daily high temperature records were broken in March in 2012 than for any month except July 1936, going back at least 100 years. Fully 11.3% of all daily high temperature records for the month of March in the U.S. are now held by the year 2012, for the 550 stations in NOAA's National Climatic Data Center database that have weather records extending back at least 100 years. The only month in U.S. history holding a higher percentage of daily temperatures records is July 1936. That month holds 14.4% of all the U.S. high temperature records for the month of July. That month occurred in the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the hottest summer in U.S. history.



Summer in March 2012: records not merely smashed, but obliterated
Among the 15,000 daily records for warmth set in March 2012 were 21 truly astonishing ones: cases where the low temperature for the day beat the previous high temperature for the day. It is quite rare for a weather station with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily temperature record by more than 10°F. During "Summer in March, 2012", beating daily records by 10° - 20°F was commonplace, and NOAA lists 44 cases where a daily record was broken by more than 22°F. Extraordinarily, four stations broke a record for the date by 30°F or more. Canada holds the most surreal record of this nature during the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave: Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F) on March 22, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33.5°F.) Canada also had several stations break their all-time warmest April temperature records in March.



Last 3 months and 12 months were the warmest on record
The previous 12-month period (April 2011 -March 2012), which includes the second hottest summer (June-August) and fourth warmest winter (December-February), was the warmest such period for the contiguous United States. The year-to-date period (January - March) was also the warmest on record. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index, an index that tracks the highest 10 percent and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, was 39 percent, nearly twice the long-term average and the highest value on record for the January - March period. The predominant factor was the large area experiencing extremes in warm daily maximum and minimum temperatures.

Analyzing the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave
Dr. Martin Hoerling of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder has posted a thorough analysis of the heat wave, which he calls, "Meteorological March Madness 2012". He explains that the event was probably a natural phenomenon, one that was predicted more than a month in advance by NOAA's long-range CFS model. A similar, though not as intense heat wave occurred in March 1910. However, he notes that the approximate 0.5 - 1°C warming in the Ohio Valley/Midwest U.S. in recent decades--due to human-caused emission of heat trapping gases like carbon dioxide--has significantly increased the odds of major heat waves occurring. He speculates that the odds of a 1-in-40 year heat wave in the Midwest may have increased by about 50% due to human-caused global warming, but that we really don't know how much global warming may have increased the odds of the March 2012 heat wave, saying "This issue of estimating reliable statistics of extreme, rare events continues to be a matter of active research." He estimates that human-caused global warming likely increased the intensity of the March 12 - 23, 2012 heat wave by about 5 - 10%, and concludes by saying, "The probability of heatwaves is growing as [human-caused] warming continues to progress. But there is always the randomness."

Jeff Masters

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1214. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting KoritheMan:


As per the GFS, the upper flow looks to become more amplified near the 72 hour time frame, and the actual low begins to manifest a day later, to the northeast of the Leeward Islands.
close to the triple nickel 55.5 degrees west longitude
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1213. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1212. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


144 hr is its strongest at 180 it spins down
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Oh okay...so the more amplified synoptic flow begins on the 15th/16th? According to the models, is the upper trough going to cut-off into an upper low south of Bermuda's latitude or north of it? I am thinking SSTs are too cool in general...but especially too cool for subtropical development north of Bermuda's latitude.



As per the GFS, the upper flow looks to become more amplified near the 72 hour time frame, and the actual low begins to manifest a day later, to the northeast of the Leeward Islands.
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1210. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Ice in glass rattled a bit, and the dog barked at the same time. Hmmmmm .... checking earthquake data, nothing so far.

I felt nothing, but after Virginia, I pay attention to my dogs.

SE US Coast here.

Maybe the dog just heard the ice turning over.
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Well, I'm off to bed.

Been a very long day.

Mercifully, it looks like most of the hail and tornadoes were in remote, isolated areas and haven't hit any population centers.

Look forwards to better, more complete information tomorrow.

good night everyone.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting KoritheMan:


I didn't say it would develop on those dates. Just that it would begin on those dates. The models seem to want to place a more amplified synoptic flow regime over the central Atlantic over the next few days.


Oh okay...so the more amplified synoptic flow begins on the 15th/16th? According to the models, is the upper trough going to cut-off into an upper low south of Bermuda's latitude or north of it? I am thinking SSTs are too cool in general...but especially too cool for subtropical development north of Bermuda's latitude.

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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/natl/flash-ir4. html

By clicking on HDW-H checkbox, the upper atmosphere across the Atlantic (upper ridges and upper troughs) are currently low in amplitude, usually a much more amplified upper air pattern exists during a subtropical event.

The W Atlc front is being supported by a low-amplitude upper trough with axis around 80 deg west longitude. This same upper trough seems to also be producing non-frontal surface troughs in the vicinity of the north-central Caribbean (TAFB surf map). Seeing a lot of t-storm flare ups north of the non-frontal surface troughs and ahead of the W Atlc front, I guess supported by surface convergence from these features coupled with the upper divergence of the 80 deg west longitude upper trough.

If I don't see the 80 deg west longitude upper trough get amplified moreso in the next several hours...I don't think a subtropical cyclone will develop by April 15/16 from any of those surface features....so I am not yet excited....


I didn't say it would develop on those dates. Just that it would begin on those dates. The models seem to want to place a more amplified synoptic flow regime over the central Atlantic over the next few days.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


It will start to take shape late on the 15th, and my guess is the front over the western Atlantic.


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/natl/flash-ir4. html

By clicking on HDW-H checkbox, the upper atmosphere across the Atlantic (upper ridges and upper troughs) are currently low in amplitude, usually a much more amplified upper air pattern exists during a subtropical event.

The W Atlc front is being supported by a low-amplitude upper trough with axis around 80 deg west longitude. This same upper trough seems to also be producing non-frontal surface troughs in the vicinity of the north-central Caribbean (TAFB surf map). Seeing a lot of t-storm flare ups north of the non-frontal surface troughs and ahead of the W Atlc front, I guess supported by surface convergence from these features coupled with the upper divergence of the 80 deg west longitude upper trough.

If I don't see the 80 deg west longitude upper trough get amplified moreso in the next several hours...I don't think a subtropical cyclone will develop by April 15/16 from any of those surface features....so I am not yet excited....
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1204. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1203. skook
Link


Updated: 4/09 6:01 pm | Published: 4/09 12:40 pm
Reported by: Brian Carlson

Video
Images

Related Links

Utah Seismic Safety Commission

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Some of Utah's most prominent politicians are urging people along the Wasatch Front to get ready for a major earthquake. Seismic experts have been warning people for years that Utah is overdue. Monday they’re trying to warn those who need to know it most.




Officals raising awareness just about a week ago for the Wasatch Fault line.


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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I've been seeing rumors of an early subtropical storm for the last several days on this blog...but this one is gaining quiet a bit of attention. What date do the models say it will begin? Which storm system presently over the US is supposd to become the subtropical storm?


Kori beat me to it :P
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I've been seeing rumors of an early subtropical storm for the last several days on this blog...but this one is gaining quiet a bit of attention. What date do the models say it will begin? Which storm system presently over the US is supposd to become the subtropical storm?


It will start to take shape late on the 15th, and my guess is the front over the western Atlantic. The upper flow over this portion of the world seems largely zonal at the moment, especially below 30N. A more amplified regime is forecast to develop. This flow pattern might act to allow the southern end of this front to slowly push eastward, rather than exit completely into the north Atlantic shipping lanes.
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1200. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I've been seeing rumors of an early subtropical storm for the last several days on this blog...but this one is gaining quiet a bit of attention. What date do the models say it will begin? Which storm system presently over the US is supposd to become the subtropical storm?
there is lots we have not seen yet
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I assume Dr. Masters will do at least mention the hail in his blog tomorrow or the next day when more facts are known?

Seems the biggest known weather event, plus the tornadoes.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
1198. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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Quoting caneswatch:


It's been 9 years since a TS formed in April. It would be another great sight to see.


I've been seeing rumors of an early subtropical storm for the last several days on this blog...but this one is gaining quiet a bit of attention. What date do the models say it will begin? Which storm system presently over the US is supposd to become the subtropical storm?
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1196. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
<
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1195. Patrap
Quoting snotly:
Is that the Wasatch fault? Read a book called 'Rough hewn land' that it's going to go big time some day and devastate Salt Lake City.



Dunno, and I wonder about the depth showing 0.0 or surface as well.
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1194. Patrap
..the hot sheet was erroneous seems, my bad

Current Solar Activity and Heliospheric Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) Conditions
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1193. snotly
Is that the Wasatch fault? Read a book called 'Rough hewn land' that it's going to go big time some day and devastate Salt Lake City.

Quoting Patrap:
M4.8 - Panguitch, Utah
2012-04-12 03:29:22 UTC
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Yeah.

A youtube users commenting on one of the videos said her husband was there in Dumas trying to drive home.

She said it was FEET of hail.


So I guess that's the radar, TWC, some storm chasers, the highway depart, and another independent eye-witness, plus this photo of the wall of ice...

just nuts...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
NOUS46 KSTO 120329
PNSSTO

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SACRAMENTO CA
800 PM PST WED APR 11 2012


LOCAL STORM SURVEY REVEALS AN EF1 TORNADO 4 MILES WEST OF
FRENCH CAMP, CALIFORNIA AROUND 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON IN
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY.


WIND SPEED: ESTIMATED WINDS OF 90 MILES PER HOUR.


LOCATION: NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF HOWARD ROAD
AND SOUTH ROBERTS ROAD, APPROXIMATELY
4 MILES WEST OF FRENCH CAMP.

TIME: AROUND 1PM.


STORM TRACK: EYEWITNESSES STATED THE TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN
IN A GROVE OF VERY SMALL WALNUT TREES ABOUT
1 TO 1.5 MILES SOUTHWEST OF HOWARD ROAD AND
ROBERTS ROAD DOING LITTLE DAMAGE. THE TORNADO
TRACKED TO THE NORTH-NORTHEAST ABOUT 1 MILE AND
TOTALLY DESTROYED A 40 FT BY 25 FT GARAGE, TIPPED
OVER AN EMPTY TRACTOR TRAILER, AND REMOVED SEVERAL
SHINGLES FROM THE ROOF OF THE NEARBY HOME. NO
DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED NORTH OF HOWARD ROAD.

INJURIES: NONE


EF SCALE

EF RATING 3 SECOND GUSTS (MPH)

0 65-85
1 86-110
2 111-135
3 136-165
4 166-200
5 OVER 200




not bad for CA
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Quoting Patrap:


..er, It's "Flare", and that was a CME or a "Coronal Mass Ejection"

Partially Earth Directed,..and most def not a "Flare".
I'm sorry. I'm not seeing chatter regarding this flare/CME (pardon the earlier typo) on the usual channels. It's rated a B2 max at this time.

If you have data that is different please share it.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
1189. Patrap
Major Hail Storm in TX Panhandle - RAW FOOTAGE

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1188. hartfa
Quoting jamesrainier:
Man standing next to Texas hail bluffs...

Scroll down to first post for large


I don't know about anyone else, but I'd call that about 4 FEET of hail!
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1187. Patrap
..is all good. Sure is some Bad EQ Mojo afoot though.
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Quoting Patrap:
M4.8 - Panguitch, Utah
2012-04-12 03:29:22 UTC
And here I thought I'd beat you on that one but noooo I got bogged down on the time zone conversions. Gahhhhhh!!!!
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
1185. Patrap
M4.8 - Panguitch, Utah
2012-04-12 03:29:22 UTC
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1184. snotly
"The Texas Department of Transportation is reporting that northbound highway 287 between Amarillo and Dumas is now open".

Someone told me once not to drive in hail near Dumas, now I guess I know why they phrased it that way.


Quoting RTSplayer:


LOL.

Guy asked "Don't they mean inches".

Definitely not.

The radar has estimated "rainfall" at well over 10 inches in that area now, and it obviously was severely under-estimating it.

I guess we may never know the actual amount amount of hail accumulation, as it would be difficult to tell the difference between "legit" totals in a flat location vs drifts and pile-ups by the time you start getting that much...
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1183. Patrap
Quoting entrelac:
Meh. That was not a large flair.


..er, It's "Flare", and that was a CME or a "Coronal Mass Ejection"

Partially Earth Directed,..and most def not a "Flare".
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Quoting KoritheMan:
You heard wrong. March and April haven't seen any landfalls.


Really? It was many years ago I heard this, memory is definitely a little off. I remember hearing all but one month for some reason, and it's kinda coming back to me that January was not the month.
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1181. hartfa
While this hail event is definitely rare, it isn't unprecedented in this area. In 1992(?), we had a similar event near Dalhart, Texas in which the hail piled up, up to 6 feet in areas. The pictures looked like the men were standing in a glacier field, with massive white fields as high as their heads, containing huge fissures. However, it was isolated mainly to one ranch and a local highway. It took days to melt, giving people plenty of time to drive up and see the spectacle.

I'd take piles of hail over the grapefruit size stuff we got in April 2004. Talk about apocalyptic!
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odd quake there.... offshore east Mass

also the 6.5 in Guerrero, MX
and the near 6.0 offshore Oregon coast

wth??? is going on today?
Im gonna fear the 11th day from now on every year. Or's its just coincidental
(March 11, 2011 Japan 9.0)
(9/11)
(today the 11 for the Indonesia 8.6 quake)
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Quoting Patrap:
CME

LASCO Image


www.solarham.com





Meh. That was not a large flair.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
1178. Patrap
2, 4.6 Quakes, Same Basin,,9 secs apart. Crazy.
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1176. txjac
Quoting Patrap:
M4.5 - Yarmouth, Canada
2012-04-12 02:29:41 UTC


Unreal ...yet another
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Man standing next to Texas hail bluffs. I can't get the photo to post. Small version here. http://myhighplains.com/fulltext?nxd_id=260502

Scroll down to first post for large
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1174. Patrap
M4.5 - Yarmouth, Canada
2012-04-12 02:29:41 UTC
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1173. Patrap
Also come tomorrow,Vostok 1 (Russian: Восток-1, East 1 or Orient 1) was the first spaceflight in the Vostok program and the first human spaceflight in history.

Piloted by Yuri Gagarin

The Vostok 3KA spacecraft was launched on April 12, 1961.

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1172. Skyepony (Mod)
India~ At least seven persons were killed and over 40 injured in storms and lightning which hit different parts of the state, officials said on Wednesday. In the last three days, lightning strike killed two persons at Mohanpur and another in Bishalgarh in West Tripura district while a girl and a boy were killed at Amarpur in Gomati district. Another person lost his life at Belonia in South Tripura district, they said. During the heavy storm, a live electric wire came in contact of a six-year-old boy at Dharmanagar in North Tripura district leading to his death, police said. At least 1000 houses including the makeshift camps of paramilitary forces were devastated, many electric posts were uprooted and cattle killed in different parts of the state in last three days, police said. Close to 40 people, including five jawans of security forces were injured when their houses collapsed during the storm, they said. Police said security forces and Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) of Disaster Management groups were busy in rescuing the victims of the storm. Sources in the MeT Office said the cyclonic storm is likely to continue for the next forty eight hours in the state.

Thailand's tsunami~ .2ft
Province of Aceh, Indonesia tsunami~ 3.5ft
Sri Lanka tsunami~ .1ft
Cocos (Keeling) Islands tsunami~ .3ft

Giant wave took down a boat off New Zealand. One survivor.

Flooding in Philippines killing crops & forcing families from their home.

Total Petrochemicals reported a check valve failure that led to a spill at its 232,000-barrels-per-day Port Arthur refinery in Texas, according to a filing with state pollution regulators. The filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality identified three tanks as the sources of the spill. However, the filing did not specify the product released.
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Well, Good Night All. Been a very strange day, Tornado's in California and a Hail Torrent in Texas, That roadway was too funny, what a mess. Well, Stay Safe All.
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So they only managed to clear the northbound side.

The southbound side is still blocked and closed.

Radar estimated "rainfall" total now stands at 11.6 inches in the main area hit by the hail storm N. of Amarillo.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
"Our crew out there says the hail is up to four and five feet high in some areas."
This is unreal ... lol


LOL.

Guy asked "Don't they mean inches".

Definitely not.

The radar has estimated "rainfall" at well over 10 inches in that area now, and it obviously was severely under-estimating it.

I guess we may never know the actual amount amount of hail accumulation, as it would be difficult to tell the difference between "legit" totals in a flat location vs drifts and pile-ups by the time you start getting that much...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting ncstorm:
From Frank Strait..that hail is unreal

"Our crew out there says the hail is up to four and five feet high in some areas."
This is unreal ... lol
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Today:

Tornado in California
4 foot haildrifts in OK
8.6 & 8.2 quakes Indonesia
5.8 Oregon Coast
6.5 Mexico


RAISE THE DOOMCON LEVEL!!!!!


This means one thing





ALIENS
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6493
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
I'm glad you are into explaining this. Would be interesting to be able to compare SPC and Forbes' torcon index on an even plane. Sorry, though, I'm not getting it. And I'm not bad with math. Part I don't understand is... SPC's probabilities are based on 'within 25 miles of a point.' Does your conversion to torcon allow for this? Maybe I missed something and need to read back some.
NVM. lol Just figured the areas and see 50-mile-radius circle is, is, is 4x area of 25 mile radius, so a 2% prob by SPC would be 8% by torcon. 8% of, of, of... The 100% torcon prob is 10, I take it... 0.8 Torcon, call it 1. OK. I get it. Thanks!

Um, PS. What happens when SPC prob is 45%, or 60%? Torcon doesn't go that high.
Hmmmm.
:)
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There's even a very large hail storm in Mexico, labeld "D0" on Del Rio radar.

it said 3.75 and 3.50inch max hail.

100% severe.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Today:

Tornado in California
4 foot haildrifts in OK
8.6 & 8.2 quakes Indonesia
5.8 Oregon Coast
6.5 Mexico


RAISE THE DOOMCON LEVEL!!!!!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.