January 2010: extremes and monthly summary

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:33 PM GMT on February 19, 2010

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The globe recorded its fourth warmest January since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated January 2010 as the 2nd warmest January on record, behind January 2007. January 2010 global ocean temperatures were the 2nd warmest on record, next to 1998. Land temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were the warmest on record, but in the Northern Hemisphere, they were the 18th warmest. The relatively cool Northern Hemisphere land temperatures may have been due to the well-above average amount of snow on the ground--January 2010 snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere was the 6th highest in the past 44 years. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the warmest on record in January, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and RSS data sets. This was the second time in the past three months that the UAH data set has shown a record high global atmospheric temperature.


Figure 1. Departure of surface temperature from average for January 2010. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

A few notable global weather highlights from January 2010:

According to the United Kingdom's Met Office, the U.K. as a whole had its coolest January since 1987 and the eighth coolest January since records began in 1914. Scotland had its coolest January since 1979. During the first two weeks of January, the Irish Republic experienced a spell of extreme cold weather that began in mid-December, resulting in the most extreme cold spell over Ireland since early 1963, according to the Irish Meteorological Service. Most places of the Irish Republic had its coolest January since 1985 and the coolest January since 1963 in the Dublin area.

A rare summer snowfall occurred on January 18th in the town of Bombala, New South Wales, Australia. The town received a light dusting of accumulation, marking the first summer snow in the high terrain of southeast Australia since records began in 1965. The town has an elevation of around 3,000 feet (900 meters) above sea-level. Forecasters said that snow at such low elevations is unusual at any time of year, especially summer. Six days before the snow, temperatures had hit 37°C (99°F) in Bombala.

Eleven inches (28 cm) of snow fell in Seoul, South Korea on the 3rd, marking the greatest snowfall amount for that city since records began in 1937 (Source: BBC).

Central Beijing, China received 3 inches (8 cm) of snow on the 2nd, the most for a single day since January 1951, while suburbs of the city reported 13 inches (33 cm). Over 90 percent of flights at Beijing.s International Airport were affected. On January 6th, temperatures in Beijing dropped to -16.7°C (1.9°F), the lowest minimum temperature in the first ten days of January since 1971.


Figure 2. An unusual sight: Virtually all of Britain was covered by snow on January 7, 2010. Image credit: NASA.

January 2010: near-average temperatures in the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., the average January temperature was 0.3°F above average, making it the 55th coolest January in the 115-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. The U.S. has been on quite a roller coaster of temperatures over the past four months--the nation recorded its third coldest October on record, followed by its third warmest November, followed by its 14th coolest December, followed by an average January. The coolest January temperature anomalies were in Florida, which had its 10th coldest such month. The Pacific Northwest was very warm, with Oregon and Washington recording their 4th warmest January on record. Seattle experienced its warmest January since records began in 1891.


Figure 3. Ranking of temperatures by state for January 2010. Florida had its 10th coldest January on record, while Washington and Oregon had their 4th warmest. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

U.S. drought
Precipitation across the U.S. was near average in January. Notably, Arizona had its 5th wettest January and New Mexico its 7th wettest. The only state much drier than average was Michigan, which had its 8th driest January. At the end of January, 3% of the contiguous United States was in severe-to-exceptional drought, a decrease of 4% from the previous month. This is the lowest drought footprint for the country since detailed drought statistics began in 1999.

U.S. records
A few notable records set in the U.S. during January 2010, courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center::

All-time low pressure records were set across most of California, Arizona, Nevada, and southern Oregon on January 20 - 21. This was approximately 10 - 15% of the area of the U.S.

Arizona set its all-time 24-hour state snowfall record: 48" at Sunrise Mountain Jan. 21 - 22.

The 50.7 inches (129 cm) that fell in Flagstaff, AZ Jan. 16 - 23 was the third highest five-day total ever recorded there.

Yuma, Arizona's total of 2.44 inches of rain (62 mm) was their 2nd greatest January total ever, narrowly missing the record of 2.49 (63 mm) set in 1949. Their daily total of 1.95 (50 mm) inches on the 21st was the greatest one-day January total ever.

Near Wikieup, AZ, the Big Sandy River crested at 17.9 feet, washing away numerous roads and setting a new all-time record crest, breaking the previous record of 16.4 feet set back in March 1978.

Burlington, VT had its largest single snowstorm on record, 33.1" on Jan. 1 - 3.

Sioux City, IA tied its all-time max snow depth record (28" on Jan. 7).

Beckley, WV had its snowiest January on record (40.9"; old record 37.3" in 1996)

Bellingham, Washington tied its record highest January temperature of 65°F on January 11.

Hondo, Texas tied its record coldest January temperature of 12°F on January 9.

Cotulla la Salle, Texas tied its record coldest January temperature of 16°F on January 9.

Records were broken or tied at Daytona Beach, Orlando, Melbourne, and Vero Beach Florida for the greatest number of consecutive days in which the daily high temperature remained below 60 degrees F (15.5 C). Daytona Beach's string was twelve days.

Jackson, KY and London, KY tied their record for longest streak of consecutive days falling below 32°F (11 days). Pensacola, FL had its 2nd longest such streak (10 days), and Mobile, AL its 3rd longest (10 days).

Key West, FL had its 2nd coldest temperature ever measured, 42°F. The record is 41°F, set in 1981 and 1886.

Moderate El Niño conditions continue
Moderate El Niño conditions continue over the tropical Eastern Pacific. Ocean temperatures in the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region", were at 1.2°C above average on February 10, in the middle of the 1.0°C - 1.5°C range for a moderate El Niño, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The strength of El Niño has been roughly constant for the first two weeks of February. A burst of westerly winds that developed near the Date Line in January has pushed eastwards towards South America over the past month, and this should keep the current El Niño at moderate strength well into March. All of the El Niño models forecast that El Niño has peaked and will weaken by summer. Most of the models predict that El Niño conditions will last into early summer, but cross the threshold into neutral territory by the height of hurricane season.

January sea ice extent in the Arctic 4th lowest on record
January 2010 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the 4th lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979. Ice extent was lower than in 2009 and 2008, but greater than in 2005, 2006, and 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The weather pattern over the Arctic in the first half of January 2010 featured a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO). This pattern tends to slow the winds that typically flush large amounts of sea ice out of the Arctic between Greenland and Iceland. In this way, a negative AO could help retain some the second- and third-year ice through the winter, and potentially rebuild some of the older, multi-year ice that has been lost over the past few years. However, the ice pack is the thinnest on record for this time of year, and much above average temperatures this summer would likely cause a new record summertime sea ice loss.

Next post
My next post will be Monday or Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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OK, I'm out.
I have tried, and failed miserably, to convert anyone to my camp.
But I am gonna keep trying, you know, so watch out!!
LOL, and have a good night.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
Quoting pottery:
350. Good point.
But will there ever be 'un-deniable evidence'?
I worry that while we await some revelation (maybe we had it already?) we continue to do a massive amount of harm. Potentially to our real cost.
Building an Ark is no longer an option, really. It would be like getting aboard the life-boat to abandon the sinking ship. But, where would we go to?

I say we do this: Assume the worst and stop trying to defuse a bomb with a remote detonator ... It will be far cheaper and far more effective to say ... work on raising levees and relocating those in harms way than trying to turn an industry on its head. And your point about never getting undeniable evidence is my point exactly. AGW guys are living a pipe dream. I personally am skeptical of anyone who espouses trying to fix something while acknowledging it's beyond repair. I don't think we can stop it if it's real. Not until we are forced into submission. Either way the result is the same and actually helps and should be done in either case. People living on coral islands need to move because natural variation has in the past and will in the future destroy them. Those on the coast need to raise the walls for the same reason. Those on more substantial islands need to invest in land-adding technologies (like dredging and dropping sand on beaches .. except much more massive scale.) I'm with you. I'm a realist. Reality is we're either screwed or we aren't. Let's do what we KNOW will help regardless .. not what some pipe dream of hope and progress tries to imply might help if X is Z but not >A and that B is = to blah blah blah. You get the idea. Build an ark, not a dam.
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Quoting centex:
It's been proven the climate is warming and at high rates. The question is exactly how and why. I'm in the majority camp which thinks it's not normal. I don't believe we are in a natural hyper warming period, not seen in 10 thousand years.


The climate has been warming for the past 30 years. Before that the data becomes very sparse and when you take in thousands or millions of years it becomes even more absurd to draw conclusions based on data we supposedly have from back in a time when humans didn't even know what temperature was. As far as we know, the explanation for the recent warming that makes the most common sense is the fact that the oceans have been very warm for the past 3 decades, which is part of a natural cycle that goes up and down. This, at least, we have already proven.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Pottery - the thing to me is, if we can really control it in that manner, it should not take much to correct it.

If we really NEEDED to, we could reduce CO2 emissions rather quickly.

The rush on that, before we really know much at all, is my main problem.

Again, outside GW, CO2 is not harmful in the least. Actually beneficial to plant life.
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100 days until Hurricane season
Up early, long week much.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24164
Quoting Chicklit:


hahaha


lol
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Quoting sirmaelstrom:
Wow. I joined WU today to post a question in the Climate Change Blog...figured it might be rowdy in there...instead it was rather civil and fairly quiet. Now nobody's there. I come here and it's an AGW free-for-all. Jeez.em>


hahaha
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Quoting Levi32:


Even if global warming is not "proved" now instead of 30 years from now, we're still gonna try to reduce polution by reducing emissions and taking advantage of clean energy. I'm all for that and applaud the people working on those issues. We won't be in anymore trouble if we find out that CO2 really is a big problem in 30 years, because we're still working on it now regardless, and no matter what the outcome it's a win-win for the environment and the people that live in it.
It's been proven the climate is warming and at high rates. The question is exactly how and why. I'm in the majority camp which thinks it's not normal. I don't believe we are in a natural hyper warming period, not seen in 10 thousand years.
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Here's a few recent studies if anyone is interested.

See second page (and plenty of others) under "Sun Not Off the Hook for Warming"

2006:

National Geographic

Newer stuff:

Maria D. Kazachenko et al 2009 ApJ 704 1146-1158

X. L. Yan et al 2008 ApJ 682 L65-L68

Jun Zhang, Leping Li, Qiao Song - arXiv:0705.0607v1 [astro-ph]
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
350. Good point.
But will there ever be 'un-deniable evidence'?
I worry that while we await some revelation (maybe we had it already?) we continue to do a massive amount of harm. Potentially to our real cost.
Building an Ark is no longer an option, really. It would be like getting aboard the life-boat to abandon the sinking ship. But, where would we go to?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
Quoting pottery:
344, I seriously hope that in 30 years we will know that co2 was not the problem.
If we find that is was, then we are in big crap.


Even if global warming is not "proved" now instead of 30 years from now, we're still gonna try to reduce polution by reducing emissions and taking advantage of clean energy. I'm all for that and applaud the people working on those issues. We won't be in anymore trouble if we find out that CO2 really is a big problem in 30 years, because we're still working on it now regardless, and no matter what the outcome it's a win-win for the environment and the people that live in it.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
I am most content, yes. I think money is being wasted on what we don't know when there is more than enough work to be done on what we do know. Noah built an ark, not a dam to prevent the flood. If AGW is real then let's play a game. Do you think Americans (the predominant driver in a global political system[I suppose debatable but play along] ) will act without undeniable evidence? If you say yes then you have more confidence in people in general than I do. By that time, AGW alarmists say, it will be too late. Well, by that reasoning shouldn't we build the ark already as opposed to the dam ... Just a thought.. me personally I think it's a money grab. " I don't want to be part of a global experiment" is echoed among the AGW folks .... well me either ... I don't want to play along with a theory that I know is incomplete.
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Quoting Seastep:


I honestly believe it will only take 10 years.


Possibly...I'm just giving 30 years because that's when the next cold PDO/AMO cycle will complete, at the end of which we should definitely have a clearer picture, if not beforehand while the cold cycle is in progress. I personally believe the earth will cease warming as it normally would during such a cycle.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
345, and I believe we are ignoring the available data NOW!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
344, I seriously hope that in 30 years we will know that co2 was not the problem.
If we find that is was, then we are in big crap.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
Quoting Levi32:


Agreed. The next 30 years will likely prove that one way or the other. Until then, the GW predictions are all speculation. We need more observed data over the course of time.


I honestly believe it will only take 10 years.
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Quoting SouthALWX:
Pottery:
I agree we are polluting the planet.
I agree we need to fix that.
I do not agree that we have sufficiently proven C02 as the cause of climate change.


Agreed. The next 30 years will likely prove that one way or the other. Until then, the GW predictions are all speculation. We need more observed data over the course of time.

That said, in any event the efforts to prevent supposed global warming will be a great incentive to fix our pollution problems, which I support.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
342, how much proof is enough for you?
Are you happy to continue to go the way we are going?
This is my point.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
Pottery:
I agree we are polluting the planet.
I agree we need to fix that.
I do not agree that we have sufficiently proven C02 as the cause of climate change.
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Quoting pottery:
Spathy, I hear you. But you are putting too much credibility there.
What I am saying is I have been observing the weather, the global climate and the state of forests, biosystems, oceans, fresh-water systems, ice-caps, glaciers etc etc for several years. I have a pretty good understanding of what is actually going on. I can actually SEE that things are changing. FAST.
The suggestion that some bozzo forgot to read his instruments, or to recalibrate, some time ago does not change that.
We are dumping on the Planet, and this is causing problems.
Amen.
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Centex - just saying that if you only stay in the world of climate science, you are missing a lot.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Spathy, I hear you. But you are putting too much credibility there. Post 325.
What I am saying is I have been observing the weather, the global climate and the state of forests, biosystems, oceans, fresh-water systems, ice-caps, glaciers etc etc for several years. I have a pretty good understanding of what is actually going on. I can actually SEE that things are changing. FAST.
The suggestion that some bozzo forgot to read his instruments, or to recalibrate, some time ago does not change that.
We are dumping on the Planet, and this is causing problems.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
For those who would like a break from the climate change debate happening right now, I have done a complete update of the CCHS Weather Center website with new forecasts for South, Central, and North Florida and new graphics for weather alerts and reports on the National Weather page. Let me know what you all think. Thanks.
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Quoting centex:
Been on this blog for years, just had all I can take of bloggers who ignore scientific facts. I’m trying to end a debate which ended years ago. They think it's political or something. I thought this site was data oriented.


LOL. Talk about ignoring facts. Sorry, you are the political one.

Seriously, check out the recent Astro-physicist research. Great stuff in the last year or so.
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Quoting centex:
Been on this blog for years, just had all I can take of bloggers who ignore scientific facts. I’m trying to end a debate which ended years ago. They think it's political or something. I thought this site was data oriented.

Well that's no fun :) If it ended years ago how can you end it now? Redundant much? This site is very much data oriented and the data is incomplete. Truthfully? You're right AGW alarmist have won the debate. At this point in the eyes of the public, if it does turn out to be that you are scientifically correct then hooray for you. If Natural variation does correct our C02 additions as I think it very well could, then you fixed global warming. Hooray for you. It's a win-win.
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

Twisting again, huh?
Hurricanes will become bigger and more intense. I don't bother posting a link, because you don't care. I cannot take you or other skeptics seriously. Just like the tabbaco ind did with manipulating the public opinion, you doing now the same with climate change. The problem you play with our planet. That is an epic failure. I hope you and the gang will realize this. CC is a national security threat and just a matter of time, till people like you will dealt with accordingly.


Figured I'd throw one out there since I've had several thrown at me already.

Hurricane activity for the United States was far worse in the 40s and 50s than in any decade since....and activity will be bad again now that the PDO is going cold and the AMO is still warm. People will scream global warming as they did in 2005, but under their noses the earth will overall be cooling because the oceans will be cold.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
No twisting drg. That's what you said. Just like saying we should have a global dictatorship.
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Quoting SouthALWX:
It's funny because Centex could be a horrible typo for Syntax .... If you are trollin' and got all this goin' for kicks, then, sir, I commend you!
Been on this blog for years, just had all I can take of bloggers who ignore scientific facts. I’m trying to end a debate which ended years ago. They think it's political or something. I thought this site was data oriented.
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Odd how the baiting and insults are coming from one certain direction...

I try to not respond to those, except with a "!" and a "-"
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lmao
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
They will not stop. Maybe a hurricane which blast their roofs could, but even than they would tell people it's just natural cylce. But i would be surprised if some of them start with common sense.




So now a hurricane is not a result of a natural cycle? LOL
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Quoting spathy:
Pottery if you can sit through the endless logs of weather stations once used and the ones now used for data.
You would plainly see the deletions and the non adjustments for deletions.you cant create a true mean if you delete the input and dont properly adjust.


i.e. Junk.

Satellite, and unfortunately we only have 30 years of that.
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
They will not stop. Maybe a hurricane which blast their roofs could, but even than they would tell people it's just natural cylce. But i would be surprised if some of them start with common sense.




haha... took you off for the evening. :)

Yes, hurricanes are completely natural. LOL.
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It's funny because Centex could be a horrible typo for Syntax .... If you are trollin' and got all this goin' for kicks, then, sir, I commend you!
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Quoting Levi32:


Looks like a lot of the people on your side left :)
So it's political with you?
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Quoting centex:
Many on this blog site a very very small minority opinion and act like it's debatable. I'm here to call them out and end there nonsense.
They will not stop. Maybe a hurricane which blast their roofs could, but even than they would tell people it's just natural cylce. But i would be surprised if some of them start with common sense.


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Quoting centex:
Many on this blog site a very very small minority opinion and act like it's debatable. I'm here to call them out and end there nonsense.


What is the nonsense?

CO2 is 100% the only driver of GW?
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Huh? I have a lot more pertinent formal education in climatology than tropical.
So you don't believe your peers?
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Quoting centex:
Many on this blog site a very very small minority opinion and act like it's debatable. I'm here to call them out and end there nonsense.


Looks like a lot of the people on your side left :)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Many on this blog site a very very small minority opinion and act like it's debatable. I'm here to call them out and end there nonsense.
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Spathy, you are talking about a Global Conspiracy to fudge information.
Even in Countries where I can see no need to do this.
And you say that this is a FACT??
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24382
Quoting sirmaelstrom:
Wow. I joined WU today to post a question in the Climate Change Blog...figured it might be rowdy in there...instead it was rather civil and fairly quiet. Now nobody's there. I come here and it's an AGW free-for-all. Jeez.


Sorry...this happens in the main blog all the time when there's nothing else to discuss, since it's not hurricane season for the U.S. and there are no snowstorms right now.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652

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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.