Summer in March, 2012, draws to a close

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on March 23, 2012

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The most incredible spring heat wave in U.S. and Canadian recorded history is finally drawing to a close today, after a ten-day stretch of unprecedented record-smashing intensity. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many spring temperature records broken, and by such a large margin. Airports in fifteen different states have set all-time records for March warmth, which is truly extraordinary considering that the records were set in the middle of the month, instead of the end of the month. The 29.2°C (85°F) measured at Western Head, Nova Scotia yesterday was the third warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada in March, according to Environment Canada and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera (top two records: 31.1°C at Alberini Beaver Creek BC on March 29th 1926, and 29.4°C in 1921 at Wallaceburg.) Michigan's all-time record for March warmth was toppled on Wednesday, when the mercury hit 90°F at Lapeer. The previous record, 89° at Lapeer in 1910, was matched at three stations yesterday--Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and Lapeer. The duration, areal size, and intensity of the Summer in March, 2012 heat wave are simply off-scale, and the event ranks as one of North America's most extraordinary weather events in recorded history. Such a historic event is difficult to summarize, and in today's post I will offer just a few of the most notable highlights.


Figure 1. Clear skies over the Eastern U.S. caused by a blocking ridge of high pressure on March 21, 2012, are apparent in this visible satellite image. The comma-shaped cloud pattern over the Central U.S. is associated with a "cut-off" low pressure system. This low is moving over the Eastern U.S. today through Saturday, and will bring an end to "Summer in March" over the U.S. and Canada. Image credit: NOAA's Environmental Visualization Lab, and modified by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central.

Low temperatures beating previous high temperature records for the date
I've never seen a case where the low temperature for the date beat the previous record high. This happened on at least four occasions during "Summer in March, 2012":

The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan hit 52° on March 21, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date.

The low at Mt. Washington, NH on March 21 (44°) beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)

The low temperature for International Falls, Minnesota on March 20 bottomed out at 60°F, tying the previous record high for the date.

The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota on March 18 was 62°F, which beat the previous record high for the date of 60°.

Breaking all-time April records for warmth in March
Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during "Summer in March, 2012", a number also broke their record for warmest April day:

St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C.

Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990.

Yesterday, I reported that Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 22, 2012. Previous March record: 25.8° set the previous day. April record: 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. However, Rob Paola, a meteorologist with Environment Canada's Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote to tell me that Halifax did not break its April record: In fact, Halifax recorded a temperature of 29.5°C on April 28, 2009. For some reason, that stat does not show up on EC's normal/extremes climate site for Halifax, which only has data up to 2006 for extremes. More details on my blog at http://robsobsblog.blogspot.ca/

Breaking daily temperature records by more than 30°F
It is exceptionally 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 many records were smashed by over 20°. Two stations broke records by more than 30°F, which is truly surreal. Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F), yesterday, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33°F.) Yesterday's high temperature was 24°C (44°F) above average. Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula--dubbed "Michigan's Icebox", since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state--hit 85° on March 21. This broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

Breaking daily temperature records nine consecutive days or more
It is extremely rare for stations with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily high temperature record for seven or more days in a row. The longest such streak of consecutive high temperature records at International Falls, Minnesota, was a 5-day period March 3 - 7, 2000. The city has tied or broken their high temperature for the date ten consecutive days, as of yesterday. This streak will likely end today, as the high is predicted to be 60 - 65, and the record high for the date is 66. Chicago, Illinois has tied or broken their daily high temperature record the past nine days in a row. This ties the nine-day streak of record highs set on August 26 - September 3, 1953. Other cites that have set daily high temperature records the past nine days in a row include Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. Numerous cities have broken high temperature records on seven consecutive days during "Summer in March, 2012", including Gaylord, Pellston, and Traverse City in Michigan.


Figure 2. All-time high temperature records set in March 2012 for the U.S. The grey icons show locations where the March record was broken on multiple days. Image taken from wunderground's new record extremes page, using data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The big picture: the impacts of "Summer in March, 2012"
I've always said living in Michigan would be much more bearable if we could just get rid of March. March weather here is always horrible, with brutal cold, high winds, damaging ice storms, heavy snow, interminable cloudy stretches with no sun, all interspersed with a few teasing warm spells. Well, this year, I got my wish. This March, we started with twelve days of April weather, followed by ten days of June and July weather, with nine days of May weather predicted to round out the month. This has been a huge benefit to the economy--vastly reduced heating costs, no snow removal bills, and far fewer traffic accidents due to icy roads. However, there is major downside to the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave. The growing season is now in full swing, five weeks early. A damaging freeze that will severely impact the fruit industry and other sensitive plants is very likely. Indeed, the forecast calls for lows in the upper 20s in the cherry-growing region of Michigan near Traverse City on Monday night. The exceptional March warmth has also melted all the snow in the northern U.S. and southern Canada, drying out the soils and setting the stage for a much warmer than average summer, and an increased chance of damaging drought conditions. The early loss of snowpack will also likely cause very low flow rates in the major rivers in late summer and early fall, reducing the amount of water needed for irrigation of crops. Low flows may also cause problems for navigation, limiting commercial barge traffic on Midwest rivers.

Links
Andrew Freedman of Climate Central interviewed a number of climate scientists who are experts in studying the link between extreme weather events and climate change for his post, Global Warming May Have Fueled March Heat Wave Odds.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt will be posting a more comprehensive summary of the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post. I expect I'll be hard at work this weekend, mowing my lawn for the first time ever in March!

Jeff Masters

2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms (gatyamgal)
Because of our week of record breaking Temps here in Bettendorf, IA, the neighbor's tree bloomed and lost its blossoms 3 weeks early. What will April bring?
2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms
Spring Landscape (thebige)
Spring Landscape
Jefferson Memorial (KEM)
Cherry blossoms in Washington DC.
Jefferson Memorial

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Quoting KoritheMan:


It's better to start and small and work your way up to that, but yes.

Look at it this way: I drink at least 100 ounces a day. It's really not that difficult after awhile.


Look at it this way. I drunk atleast 70 ounces of sunkist today

lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
One of the reasons movements like this annoy me is because they do not stress the fact that you can still drink and eat burgers just don't do it all the time.


I agree.
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Quoting Cyclone2012:


Is this recent? Cause the one that was posted just yesterday, was painting an entirely different picture.

Was just updated today.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You want me to drink 50 ounces of water?


It's better to start and small and work your way up to that, but yes.

Look at it this way: I drink at least 100 ounces a day. It's really not that difficult after awhile.
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Quoting nigel20:


The GOM and Gulfstream continue very warm.Lack of deep cold airmasses moving out across the Gulf or off the East U.S. Coast this year has kept the water temps above normal. This doesn't mean that the same areas will remain so much above normal in the Summer. SST'S in the Caribbean and Tropical Atlantic will likely be near normal or perhaps a little below normal, due to increased trade winds caused by the positive NAO resulting in upwelling of cooler waters.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Its not good for you.


No

Quoting KoritheMan:

Sugar is terrible for you.


No

Quoting washingtonian115:
I love sunkist.But I havn't had one in over a year and a 1/2.

You all got it all WRONG!!! 4 sunkist a day MINIMUM!!:D:D:D:D

Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You want me to drink 50 ounces of water?
Thats really not that much in a whole day.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3813
Because, SPLbeater, both adult-onset diabetes and morbid obesity are strongly linked to the degree of intake of sugared soft drinks.
While one can fight against morbid obesity through increased exercize, there is nothing one can do about the increased risk of diabetes except cut down on sugars (and the types of starches that are quickly&easily converted to sugars) because it's aggravated by spikes in blood sugar levels.

Have a friend who has had to undergo several amputations because of his diabetes, and I assure you that you don't wanna go there (even excluding his other health problems associated with diabetes such as excruciatingly slow wound-healing).
Had another friend who'd developed adult-onset diabetes when he had barely turned into a teeny-bopper. He didn't make it to his 22nd birthday.
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Quoting yqt1001:
You know, I've always found the shear number of studies on foods to be interesting. But now that the whole "cigarette rage" is over, it seems they are targeting soda. I'm assuming the pop industry is much larger and thus, we could be standing in a wake of a whole new war against another set of corporations.

Soon enough, everything will be banned and you'll be given rations of healthy foods. :P
I love soda. Just use & eat everything in moderation and you will be fine. One of the reasons movements like this annoy me is because they do not stress the fact that you can still drink and eat burgers just don't do it all the time.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3813
Quoting KoritheMan:


Ideally, you want to drink [water] half your weight in ounces.

Also, you will hate it at first, but be consistent and you will acquire a liking for it. Trust me.

You want me to drink 50 ounces of water?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
You know, I've always found the shear number of studies on foods to be interesting. But now that the whole "cigarette rage" is over, it seems they are targeting soda. I'm assuming the pop industry is much larger and thus, we could be standing in a wake of a whole new (and much larger) war against another set of corporations.

Soon enough, everything will be banned and you'll be given rations of healthy foods. :P
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I love sunkist.But I havn't had one in over a year and a 1/2.
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Quoting yqt1001:
What in the world is a "sunkist" or whatever it's called.


Knock yourself out.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I'm going to start drinking water on Monday. I may not like it because it doesn't have a taste, but it has many benefits, and I don't want to become unhealthy.


Ideally, you want to drink [water] half your weight in ounces.

Also, you will hate it at first, but be consistent and you will acquire a liking for it. Trust me.
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What in the world is a "sunkist" or whatever it's called. Always nice to live out of the consumerist hellhole known as the US. :P
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New Soda Study (regular soda)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/soda-and -heart-attacks_n_1343163.html
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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7459
Quoting KoritheMan:
Sunny D is certainly better for you. However, general fruit juices also contain high amounts of sugar, even if they are rich in vitamins. 5 Sunny D's per day would still be bad for you.

Protip: Your body weight is comprised of 60% water. If you deprive yourself of that, there are consequences. This world contains some very pleasurable things, but food/drink is one you need to tread carefully on. The phrase "all things in moderation" really applies here.

I'm going to start drinking water on Monday. I may not like it because it doesn't have a taste, but it has many benefits, and I don't want to become unhealthy.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Quoting KoritheMan:

How old are they, if you don't mind my asking?
One is 10 the other one is 12 and my other son is 8.Their all growing boys.The only one not picking the friege apart is my youngest son(5).
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Nevermind, I was getting Sunkist and Sunny-D mixed up.
Sunny D is certainly better for you. However, general fruit juices also contain high amounts of sugar, even if they are rich in vitamins. 5 Sunny D's per day would still be bad for you.

Protip: Your body weight is comprised of 60% water. If you deprive yourself of that, there are consequences. This world contains some very pleasurable things, but food/drink is one you need to tread carefully on. The phrase "all things in moderation" really applies here.
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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7459
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

What? Why?

Nevermind, I was getting Sunkist and Sunny-D mixed up.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

What? Why?
Sugar is terrible for you.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

What? Why?
Its not good for you.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3813
Quoting KoritheMan:

Dude, don't do that. You will regret it when you get older.


if i didnt have to go to church activity this evening that number would likely be 7+

:D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481
Quoting KoritheMan:

Dude, don't do that. You will regret it when you get older.

What? Why?
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
Quoting Levi32:
151. Some1Has2BtheRookieYou will ask why I don't believe the current "consensus" on the subject. I dislike the unbelievable politicization of the issue. It doesn't matter what "side" you're on. Politics has ruined this aspect of modern science. From where I'm sitting the IPCC could be correct, and we will see as time goes on if they are, or they could be overestimating the effects.

It is naive to think that an issue that could have such a large impact on our daily lives would/should not become political.
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Quoting SPLbeater:
I think i had a total of 5.5 sunkists today before 4 PM...
Dude, don't do that. You will regret it when you get older.
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I think i had a total of 5.5 sunkists today before 4 PM...
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4481

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Preparing for Severe Weather season...good, or no?


(Click image to enlarge)
Good if the high risk is placed over me.
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Preparing for Severe Weather season...good, or no?


(Click image to enlarge)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251

Its been generally wet in the carib over the last two weeks or so
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7459

Quoting washingtonian115:
Yes.The boys are growing and they are picking the Friege apart eating everything they can.My daughter also needs some supplies for her project.
How old are they, if you don't mind my asking?
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I believe that someone posted a while ago an alternate version of the Saffir%u2013Simpson scale that had slightly different category criteria. I think the main change was adjusting the wind speed for a category four... anyway, was that an official change that has been made, or something else?

Edit: nevermind. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php

but i've always found it interesting how narrow the category two range is.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Geez this blog is empty for a Friday night.
That's because most people have a date with something more solid than hail.
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Quoting Levi32:
However, at the current politicized state that the science is in, I'm obliged to be skeptical.
It's not the scientists fault that their hard-earned degrees and strenuous studies have become the subject of the political spectrum. However, I don't think that undermines the consensus at all. The Catholic Church prosecuted Galileo for saying that the sun does not revolve around the Earth, but that obviously failed to invalidate what we now know to be true, right?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Oh look, a welcoming present.



Yeah, but who is coming for dinner?
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Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7459
Quoting TomTaylor:
Wow, come on Jedkins, don't play the "I have reasons, but nobody wants to hear them" game. If you are going to make claims at least back yourself up.


Actually Jedkins01 is one of the better bloggers here.
Quoting BobWallace:


Don't try to convince us by claiming that you know best. That you somehow know more than the smart kids who went on to graduate school, studied for several years, and then spent years doing research.

Show us high quality data that convince you and explain the physics. Weather and climate are not magic.

We know what CO2 in the atmosphere does. We know how much we have put there. We can see global temperature records.

Show us the data that proves CO2 levels are not what the climate scientists are reporting. Or how CO2 really doesn't trap heat. Or that the Earth really isn't warming.

Give us a scientific explanation why climate change isn't happening. Don't try to deny by accusing scientists of being liars. That dog don't even scratch fleas much less hunt....



It's not so much that it isn't happening, but rather the scale. The next decade or two will go a long ways in getting a much better grasp of just how the climate on this planet is governed.
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151. Some1Has2BtheRookie

My views are not that the basic physics are wrong. It is a fact that CO2 has a large E-M absorption band at wavelengths of about 11-15 micrometers, which intersects the E-M spectrum of the Earth. It is a fact that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is increasing. It has to have some effect. What I still think is unclear is exactly how much impact the CO2 increase has within the very complex Earth-atmosphere system.

You will ask why I don't believe the current "consensus" on the subject. I dislike the unbelievable politicization of the issue. It doesn't matter what "side" you're on. Politics has ruined this aspect of modern science. From where I'm sitting the IPCC could be correct, and we will see as time goes on if they are, or they could be overestimating the effects.

We're watching people run around all the time blaming AGW for any weather event under the sun, which is getting ridiculous. My position is that we should be aware that the Earth has been on an overall warming trend over the past century, and that there is a possibility that humans have influenced it, and that for many reasons besides just the weather, we should pursue clean and renewable energy around the globe. However, at the current politicized state that the science is in, I'm obliged to be skeptical.

And that is my two cents.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
sunday april first beginning of severe season will commence

Oh look, a welcoming present.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30251
DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
400 PM EDT FRI MAR 23 2012

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS GRADUALLY EXPANDING...

SYNOPSIS...
A TYPICAL LA NINA PATTERN THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS WITH PREDOMINATELY HIGH PRESSURE OVER FLORIDA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION ACROSS MUCH OF WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA.

OVERALL RAINFALL SINCE SEPTEMBER 1 2011 RANGES FROM ABOUT 2.5 INCHES ABOVE NORMAL TO AROUND 13 INCHES BELOW NORMAL...OR ABOUT 40 PERCENT TO 110 PERCENT OF NORMAL. A MAJORITY OF THE AREA IS RUNNING 5 TO 9 INCHES BELOW NORMAL SINCE SEPTEMBER 1 WHICH IS 60 TO 80 PERCENT OF NORMAL RAINFALL.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...EXTREME DROUGHT CONTINUES ACROSS MANATEE...SARASOTA...AND LEVY COUNTIES. SEVERE DROUGHT HAS EXPANDED ACROSS THE REMAINING COUNTIES OF WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA.

A PHASE THREE SEVERE WATER SHORTAGE HAS BEEN DECLARED FOR LEVY...CITRUS...HERNANDO AND SUMTER COUNTIES. ELSEWHERE ACROSS WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA A PHASE ONE MODERATE WATER SHORTAGE REMAINS IN EFFECT. WATER RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT FOR ALL COUNTIES IN WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA.

THE THREAT OF WILDFIRES WILL LIKELY INCREASE OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS AS DRY CONDITIONS PERSIST AND DAYTIME TEMPERATURES CLIMB. KEETCH BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX VALUES ARE CURRENTLY RUNNING FROM 500 OVER NORTHERN PORTIONS OF THE NATURE COAST TO AROUND 650 TO 680 ACROSS DESOTO...MANATEE...AND HARDEE COUNTIES. THE SCALE RUNS FROM ZERO (SATURATED) TO 800 (EXTREME DRYNESS). CURRENT VALUES ARE HIGHER THAN NORMAL FOR MID MARCH AND ARE IN THE MODERATE TO SEVERE RANGE. VALUES WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO INCREASE ABOVE 600 IN MANY AREAS OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS.
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Check out the long lived supercell that occurred today as it started at least in Southeast Kentucky and went all the way up to near Indianapolis.

The white arrows are just for clarification which track i am talking about lol :P
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Weekend resupply for the kids?
Yes.The boys are growing and they are picking the Friege apart eating everything they can.My daughter also needs some supplies for her project.
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sunday april first beginning of severe season will commence
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I'm going shopping there tomorrow :).


Weekend resupply for the kids?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Hey now, I'm off today. I'd rather not hear about "that" place.
I'm going shopping there tomorrow :).
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About JeffMasters

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