U.S. experiences warmest 12-month period on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:09 PM GMT on May 08, 2012

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The past twelve months were the warmest twelve months in U.S. history, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Tuesday, in their monthly "State of the Climate" report. Temperatures in the contiguous U.S. during May 2011 - April 2012 broke the previous record for warmest 12-month period, set November 1999 - October 2000, by 0.1°F. The past twelve months have featured America's 2nd warmest summer, 4th warmest winter, and warmest March on record. Twenty-two states were record warm for the 12-month period, and an additional nineteen states were top ten warm. NOAA said that the January - April 2012 period was also the warmest January - April period since record keeping began in 1895. The average temperature of 45.4°F during January - April 2012 was 5.4°F above the 20th century average for the period, and smashed the previous record set in 2006 by an unusually large margin--1.6°F.


Figure 1. The ten warmest 12-month periods in the contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 2. The average temperature of 45.4°F during January - April 2012 was the warmest on record: 5.4°F above the 20th century average for the period, and was 1.6°F above the previous record set in 2006. January - April temperatures have been rising at about 1.9°F per century since 1895. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

April 2012: 3rd warmest on record
April 2012 was the third warmest April in the contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895. Ten states had a top-ten warmest April, and no states were cooler than average. But what's really remarkable about April was that eight states--Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia--had average April temperatures cooler than their March temperatures, even though their April temperatures were still above the long-term average for the month. These statistics show just how remarkably warm March 2012 was. Most extreme was Illinois, where April 2012 temperatures ranked in the top 20% for warmest Aprils, yet were cooler than March 2012 temperatures.


Figure 3. Temperature rankings for April 2012 in the Contiguous U.S. Ten states had a top-ten warmest April, and no states were cooler than average. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 4. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - April shows that 2012 had the most extreme weather on record.

Most extreme January - April on record
NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), an index that tracks the highest 10 percent and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, was 42% during the January-April period, over twice the average value, and the greatest on record. Remarkably, 82% of the contiguous U.S. had maximum temperatures that were in the warmest 10% historically, and 68% had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%, with records going back to 1910. The previous records were 56% (2000) and 57% (1992) for maximum and minimum temperatures, respectively. The percentage area of the U.S. experiencing top-10% drought conditions during January - April was 19%, which was the 17th greatest since 1910. Extremes in precipitation as computed by the CEI were near average for the January - April period.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Levi32:
The other problem with Dr. Knabb's analysis is that he cites the GFS's change to a coarser resolution beyond 192 hours as the reason why he believes this particular forecast is bogus. However, a global model showing a significant lowering of pressures in the tropics despite a coarser resolution only makes it a more significant event in the simulation, since variations in the tropics are small compared to the mid-latitudes.

There are other reasons why the GFS runs were and still could be bogus. Almost every time the GFS shows a "ghost storm" in the western Caribbean, it is because of an over-zealous strengthening of an MJO pulse in phases 8 and 1. Here, the GFS still is making the coming MJO pulse too quick and too strong if we believe the more moderate European models which have been beating the tar out of the GFS for the last 3 weeks on the tropics.


Hi Levi. Maybe the dominance of ECMWF ends if the upgrade that GFS will undergo on May 22nd is successful and improves it to the point that is turns into the #1 model displacing the EURO.

Link
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1433. hydrus
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Lol... Didn't even notice the GFS showing Aletta just 3 days from now! It's pretty far out in the Pacific though.
Little bit. Warm enough tho..It would not surprise me if it did form.
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1432. nigel20
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Hey Nigel... Right now I don't see it happening... I don't like the fact that the Euro hasn't picked up on it and I don't like how the GFS, even though it consistently is showing development, is doing something different with the storm every time. I don't give it a very high chance at this point. Still something to watch though.

Thanks much MA

Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
Quoting MississippiWx:


Anything to catch the attention of someone flipping through channels...


It never aired on the Weather Channel, its a pre-recorded video exclusively for the web, so you are incorrect.
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Is this going to be Aletta? Didn't even pay attention to what the GFS showed for the Eastern Pacific.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
Quoting Grothar:


I still miss John Hope.


You probably miss Noah and the days you helped him build the ark.
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Quoting Grothar:


I still miss John Hope.


Yep. Not sure they get much better than him..
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Quoting presslord:


lived there 12 years...it was a blast
They've really built the city up in the last 10 years.
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Quoting Grothar:



Isn't that the town which is South of Due West, South Carolina.



Give that man a cigar!!!! on second thought...give me the cigar....give him a doughnut...
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Quoting hydrus:
GFS forms a cyclone in the East Pacific.

Lol... Didn't even notice the GFS showing Aletta just 3 days from now! It's pretty far out in the Pacific though.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7969
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Why is Dr. Rick Knabb discussing this now? I thought tropical updates on The Weather Channel don't start till June 1...

It was in response to this.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Why is Dr. Rick Knabb discussing this now? I thought tropical updates on The Weather Channel don't start till June 1...


Anything to catch the attention of someone flipping through channels...
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1420. hydrus
GFS forms a cyclone in the East Pacific.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I have to agree with you on this one...Severe Weather coverage by Dr. Greg Forbes is excellent...Tropical Weather by Dr. Rick Knabb...not so much.

I miss Dr. Steve Lyons.


Why is Dr. Rick Knabb discussing this now? I thought tropical updates on The Weather Channel don't start till June 1...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I have to agree with you on this one...Severe Weather coverage by Dr. Greg Forbes is excellent...Tropical Weather by Dr. Rick Knabb...not so much.

I miss Dr. Steve Lyons.

I miss him too... I really, really liked watching his analysis... He was great.

Still, Dr. Knabb is far from a bad forecaster... He definitely tends to be slow to buy into potential storms, but he's not the worst person for the job.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7969
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I have to agree with you on this one...Severe Weather coverage by Dr. Greg Forbes is excellent...Tropical Weather by Dr. Rick Knabb...not so much.

I miss Dr. Steve Lyons.


This.

Dr. Lyons' birthday was either yesterday or the day before. Told him happy birthday through Facebook and he wrote back. Wonderful person and a wonderful tropical forecaster.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
looks like will see alberto soon from the gfs



LOL...I don't know how many times I've heard that phrase so far this year. Well...I ain't naming anything till its named...LOL

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Quoting MississippiWx:
I would take the word of a homeless man over whatever TWC says in tropical forecasting.

You got that right.....
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1414. hydrus
GOES Imager Spectral Difference
May 10, 2012 - 23:45 UTC
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Quoting MississippiWx:
I would take the word of a homeless man over whatever TWC says in tropical forecasting.

I have to agree with you on this one...Severe Weather coverage by Dr. Greg Forbes is excellent...Tropical Weather by Dr. Rick Knabb...not so much.

I miss Dr. Steve Lyons.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
I would take the word of a homeless man over whatever TWC says in tropical forecasting.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Evening all....
Where/when is this storm supposed to develop? Is this an E-Pac or an Atlantic storm the models keep talking about?

Week of May 20 on the Atlantic side in the western Caribbean.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
looks like will see alberto soon from the gfs

re move
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Don't worry your not missing nothing in the Virginia's(Especially W.V).D.C is where you wanna be :).


lived there 12 years...it was a blast
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Hey Nigel... Right now I don't see it happening... I don't like the fact that the Euro hasn't picked up on it and I don't like how the GFS, even though it consistently is showing development, is doing something different with the storm every time. I don't give it a very high chance at this point. Still something to watch though.


Evening all....
Where/when is this storm supposed to develop? Is this an E-Pac or an Atlantic storm the models keep talking about?
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Quoting presslord:


come on down...look me up


I'm down by the old man known as Grothar, but I missed my yearly trip to SC last year, so I hope to make a trip up in the winter. I'll definitely let you know.
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1405. Levi32
The other problem with Dr. Knabb's analysis is that he cites the GFS's change to a coarser resolution beyond 192 hours as the reason why he believes this particular forecast is bogus. However, a global model showing a significant lowering of pressures in the tropics despite a coarser resolution only makes it a more significant event in the simulation, since variations in the tropics are small compared to the mid-latitudes.

There are other reasons why the GFS runs were and still could be bogus. Almost every time the GFS shows a "ghost storm" in the western Caribbean, it is because of an over-zealous strengthening of an MJO pulse in phases 8 and 1. Here, the GFS still is making the coming MJO pulse too quick and too strong if we believe the more moderate European models which have been beating the tar out of the GFS for the last 3 weeks on the tropics.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26686
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I currently live in The Carolinas; I've never visited The Virginias nor The Dakotas.
Don't worry your not missing nothing in the Virginia's(Especially W.V).D.C is where you wanna be :).
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Quoting nigel20:

Hey MA. What do you think about the possible storm predicted by the GFS?

Hey Nigel... Right now I don't see it happening... I don't like the fact that the Euro hasn't picked up on it and I don't like how the GFS, even though it consistently is showing development, is doing something different with the storm every time. I don't give it a very high chance at this point. Still something to watch though.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7969
1402. hydrus
Quoting weatherh98:
Is that a.. ... ... PINHOLE EYE
Yes, yes..it could possibly go pannular during the next Eyewall Regeneration Cycle..I have slammed the plywood over the winders and brewed much beer...this is not a game....marbles is a game..;o
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The sad thing is, he discards it without even looking at the atmospheric pattern at the time. If he would look, he would notice that the pattern favors tropical development and that it has occurred in this pattern plenty of times before.

Exactly. I have noticed the tropics love to show a blatant disregard for meteorologists as well.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Dr. Rick Knabb with TWC has a video up on the TWC website talking about what the GFS is doing with this potential system... Basically he said the GFS runs developing the system are bogus and not to be trusted, so he's very pessimistic on development chances.

The sad thing is, he discards it without even looking at the atmospheric pattern at the time. If he would look, he would notice that the pattern favors tropical development and that it has occurred in this pattern plenty of times before.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32558
Dr. Rick Knabb with TWC has a video up on the TWC website talking about what the GFS is doing with this potential system... Basically he said the GFS runs developing the system are bogus and not to be trusted, so he's very pessimistic on development chances.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7969
1398. nigel20
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Wow... That Gulf shear is very unfavorable right now

Hey MA. What do you think about the possible storm being predicted by the GFS?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
Quoting weatherh98:
Is that a.. ... ... PINHOLE EYE

It's gone annular already.
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Quoting hydrus:
and choosing to be amusing without losing and abusing...6 days out, tail end of a front in the gulf...Instant cat-5.
Is that a.. ... ... PINHOLE EYE
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6539
Quoting caneswatch:


Oh I get what you're saying, combined it's huge. I get your point.

I've been to Charleston once, what a great place. I'd love to go there again soon.


come on down...look me up
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Wow... That Gulf shear is very unfavorable right now

Could drop back down quickly again once the winds shift.
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Quoting presslord:


it's mostly just that I'm a Charleston snob...although on a serious not: it's utterly useless in predicting hurricane landfall...like saying "it's gonna hit Florida"...just meaningless....


Oh I get what you're saying, combined it's huge. I get your point.

I've been to Charleston once, what a great place. I'd love to go there again soon.
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Quoting nigel20:
Vertical wind shear

Trop atl

Carib

GOM

Wow... That Gulf shear is very unfavorable right now
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 84 Comments: 7969
Tornado Watch has been expanded. Looks like a delightful evening in Central and South Central TX.
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Quoting caneswatch:
Press, you and I need to have a civil discusion, on this so called Carolinas thing you have. What's wrong with it?


it's mostly just that I'm a Charleston snob...although on a serious not: it's utterly useless in predicting hurricane landfall...like saying "it's gonna hit Florida"...just meaningless....
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1362 Grothar: Where does the water in Waterspouts come from?

When a boy waterspin and a girl waterspin fall in love, they get together and have a little waterspout.
'd be pret' odd if they had a teaspout instead. That's for when two teases get together.
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Quoting Patrap:
Uploaded by TexasParksWildlife on May 19, 2011

What can old Texas trees teach us about our climate? One researcher is finding out. Follow Dr. Malcolm Cleaveland from the University of Arkansas as he taps the secrets of the cypress trees and learns the warnings they may hold for water planners. See how tree rings give clues to years of drought and floods.

See our PBS show schedule on our web site

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/tv/

Thank you for posting that. It was a truly interesting piece.
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1387. nigel20
Vertical wind shear

Trop atl

Carib

GOM
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 11 Comments: 8350
1386. hydrus
Quoting caneswatch:
Press, you and I need to have a civil discusion, on this so called Carolinas thing you have. What's wrong with it?
You have just invited yourself to misery and pain..:)
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1385. hydrus
Quoting Grothar:


Someone's cruising..........
and choosing to be amusing without losing and abusing...6 days out, tail end of a front in the gulf...Instant cat-5.
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1384. xcool
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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.

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