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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1014. ncstorm
Didnt Mexico City just had an earthquake a couple of weeks ago?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15285
Double whoa.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017

Arteaga, MX



edit: sorry picturedidnt come up.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting weatherh98:


your house??


Heck no.

the monster thunderstorm northeast of Amarillo.

It's been going for several hours now.

Never seen anything quite like it really.

they posted flash flood warnings about an hour ago, but I expect new flash flood warnings may be needed in the next half hour.

this one is just ridiculous.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Well...looking over the rest of the model...We definitely need a Moderate risk tomorrow.


make a map for it!!
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Seems to be a lot of stress on the plates lately..

Take a look at USGS right now for a surprising update!
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2076
i think there been a 7.0 off MX cost not so sure on this
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Earthquake shakes Mexico City, causing tall buildings to sway, people to evacuate

By Associated Press,

MEXICO CITY — Earthquake shakes Mexico City, causing tall buildings to sway, people to evacuate.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We've got a tornado outbreak upcoming tomorrow. It will probably be the biggest tornado day since March 2.


Well...looking over the rest of the model...We definitely need a Moderate risk tomorrow.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
Quoting RTSplayer:
Yeah well, it's up to 4.1in per hour again, and 9.9 inches of total max accumulation now, and back to max hail size 3.25 inches in the worst core again.


your house??
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Seems to be a lot of stress on the plates lately..
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
Yeah well, it's up to 4.1in per hour again, and 9.9 inches of total max accumulation now, and back to max hail size 3.25 inches in the worst core again.

Completely stalled out now.

2kts of movement.

Unbelievable.
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quick blog shut down...

anyway, the cmc ecmwf and gfs are on board with alberto
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
38th and Tower is pretty much heading right at the airport. (DIA)

TORNADO WARNING
COC001-005-031-112330-
/O.NEW.KBOU.TO.W.0001.120411T2306Z-120411T2330Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
506 PM MDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DENVER HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN ARAPAHOE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO
WESTERN ADAMS COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO
EASTERN DENVER COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO

* UNTIL 530 PM MDT

* AT 505 PM MDT...THE PUBLIC REPORTED A TORNADO NEAR 38TH AND TOWER
ROAD...ABOUT 6 MILES NORTH OF AURORA...OR 10 MILES NORTHEAST OF
DENVER. THIS STORM WAS MOVING NORTH AT 25 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO BUCKLEY
AFB...BARR LAKE...WESTERN DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT...
NORTHEASTERN DENVER...NORTHEASTERN COMMERCE CITY AND NORTHWESTERN
AURORA.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF IN A MOBILE HOME...A VEHICLE OR
OUTDOORS...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO...THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE
DAMAGING HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS.

&&

LAT...LON 3996 10481 3996 10465 3967 10474 3968 10493
TIME...MOT...LOC 2305Z 199DEG 18KT 3982 10479
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
Hiccup.....
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Heres another one for the list 7.0 Mexico:-

MAP 7.0 2012/04/11 22:55:17 18.390 -102.652 65.6 MICHOACAN, MEXICO
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2076
We've got a tornado outbreak upcoming tomorrow. It will probably be the biggest tornado day since March 2.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
751
WFUS54 KMAF 112256
TORMAF
TXC371-112330-
/O.NEW.KMAF.TO.W.0008.120411T2256Z-120411T2330Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIDLAND/ODESSA TX
556 PM CDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIDLAND HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
WEST CENTRAL PECOS COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 630 PM CDT

* AT 554 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 14 MILES WEST OF
BELDING...OR 22 MILES WEST OF FORT STOCKTON...MOVING EAST AT 15
MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL AFFECT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...
BELDING...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO MAY FORM AT ANY TIME... TAKE COVER NOW. ABANDON MOBILE
HOMES AND VEHICLES FOR MORE SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. AVOID WINDOWS.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1000 PM CDT
WEDNESDAY EVENING FOR SOUTHEAST NEW MEXICO AND SOUTHWESTERN TEXAS.



LAT...LON 3097 10296 3071 10296 3078 10331 3094 10331
TIME...MOT...LOC 2257Z 270DEG 13KT 3087 10324
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You have got a bit of a big rattle of the coast of California:-

MAP 5.3 2012/04/11 22:42:55 39.359 -124.053 7.3 OFFSHORE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Some reports say its of the coast of Origon?
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2076
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
444 PM MDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DENVER HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
SOUTHWESTERN ARAPAHOE COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO
WESTERN ADAMS COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO
WESTERN DENVER COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO

* UNTIL 530 PM MDT

* AT 444 PM MDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING HALF DOLLAR SIZE HAIL.
THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 2 MILES SOUTHEAST OF ENGLEWOOD...OR 7 MILES
SOUTH OF DENVER...MOVING NORTH AT 25 MPH
.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO SHERIDAN...
GREENWOOD VILLAGE...BARR LAKE...WESTERN CENTENNIAL...THORNTON...
EASTERN NORTHGLENN...NORTHERN LITTLETON...ENGLEWOOD...CENTRAL
DENVER...COMMERCE CITY AND WESTERN AURORA.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Proposed budget cuts to National Weather Service may delay warnings


Idiots...
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coudnt log in, stole my moms computer so its okay:) did i miss anything?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
GFS not buying the idea of the trough making it to the E US.

Most likely scenario is that of a weak trough, extending down to maybe TN, working to the coast and lifting NE.

Unless either the GFS or the ECMWF gives.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting:- 959. Skyepony

"wanna be blob/"

That term probably beats your, "Armpit of Africa," ( Gulf of Guinea,) from last years discussion of massing heat waves.

Skye, have they decided to admit those fire are toxic yet or are they pretending they have gone out, IE, Extinguished?
Member Since: January 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2076
Despite the hook echo on radar, rotation remains strictly limited to the upper parts of the atmosphere. It will need to work down near the surface to attain a tornado warning.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
Quoting jamesrainier:
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX
525 PM CDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN AMARILLO HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN MOORE COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF TEXAS...
NORTHERN POTTER COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF TEXAS...

* UNTIL 830 PM CDT

* AT 523 PM CDT...LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS REPORTED
FLASH FLOODING NEAR THE MOORE COUNTY AND POTTER COUNTY LINE ON U.S.
HIGHWAY 287. THE WATER WAS REPORTED TO BE OVER THE HIGHWAY AND
ACCIDENTS HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED DUE TO THE WATER OVER THE ROAD.


* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO RURAL AREAS
OF NORTHERN POTTER AND SOUTHERN MOORE COUNTIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL
CREEKS AND STREAMS...COUNTRY ROADS...AS WELL AS FARMLAND ALONG THE
BANKS OF CREEKS AND STREAMS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

TO REPORT FLOODING...PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT 8 0
6 3 3 5 1 1 2 1.



yeah, I had a good call on "locally catastrophic" about time these cells got going.

I simply did not expect 8-plus inches of accumulation though. I was just watching the hail cores.


I guess we'll get some video from the local weather stations or some storm chasers eventually. I wouldn't know where to look for them though.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I didn't realize you worked for the SPC :)

Never said I did. ;-)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
That storm in Texas is a classic supercell in how it is cycling... The last couple frames didn't look to good but the most recent one has possibly the most pronounced hook yet... It has done this several times now
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
Looks more like rain and a wall cloud now, you never know what is in there....

but it does kinda look like a debris ball on radar.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Yep...looks like we'll need a Moderate risk tomorrow.

15% hatched tornado.

30/45% hatched hail/wind.

At least, the opinions of my friends and I.

I didn't realize you worked for the SPC :)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
How is it looking for Saturday?

Saturday looks like the main event so to speak.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX
525 PM CDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN AMARILLO HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
SOUTHERN MOORE COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF TEXAS...
NORTHERN POTTER COUNTY IN THE PANHANDLE OF TEXAS...

* UNTIL 830 PM CDT

* AT 523 PM CDT...LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS REPORTED
FLASH FLOODING NEAR THE MOORE COUNTY AND POTTER COUNTY LINE ON U.S.
HIGHWAY 287. THE WATER WAS REPORTED TO BE OVER THE HIGHWAY AND
ACCIDENTS HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED DUE TO THE WATER OVER THE ROAD.


* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO RURAL AREAS
OF NORTHERN POTTER AND SOUTHERN MOORE COUNTIES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF FROM HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF SMALL
CREEKS AND STREAMS...COUNTRY ROADS...AS WELL AS FARMLAND ALONG THE
BANKS OF CREEKS AND STREAMS.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

TO REPORT FLOODING...PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT 8 0
6 3 3 5 1 1 2 1.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Yep...looks like we'll need a Moderate risk tomorrow.

15% hatched tornado.

30/45% hatched hail/wind.

At least, the opinions of my friends and I.
How is it looking for Saturday?
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Yep...looks like we'll need a Moderate risk tomorrow.

15% hatched tornado.

30/45% hatched hail/wind.

At least, the opinions of my friends and I.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
Quoting RTSplayer:
4.1 inches of radar estimated accumulation in the past hour alone NE of Amarillo.

Radar max total accumulation is still 8.3inch.


That storm is just anchored there.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
It's inconclusive whether or not global warming is the cause, but I've noticed the Atlantic hurricane season has become significantly longer in the last ten years. Hell, 2005 was the last year we weren't tracking some kind of preseason disturbance.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
TX storm 0.0 Link
Chaser confirms tornado is on the ground!
Edit: He seems a little less sure its a tornado on the ground now.
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4.1 inches of radar estimated accumulation in the past hour alone NE of Amarillo.

Radar max total accumulation is still 8.3inch.

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Looks like we have the model support for a possible future ''91L'', we need consistency as they could drop it and probably will. However, it's in a good timeframe, 144 hours out and it bares watching. Appears to not be attached to a front upon closer looking.

What do you think the odds are we at least get an invest out of it?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
Looks like we have the model support for a possible future ''91L'', we need consistency as they could drop it and probably will. However, it's in a good timeframe, 144 hours out and it bares watching. Appears to not be attached to a front upon closer looking.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24016
Quoting RTSplayer:
What was the CAPE and stuff?

How is it these cells stayed that strong for so long just dumping hail non-stop like that for over an hour?

haven't seen anything this persistent since the outbreak last year, certainly, and those storms were fast movers.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32017
What was the CAPE and stuff?

How is it these cells stayed that strong for so long just dumping hail non-stop like that for over an hour?

haven't seen anything this persistent since the outbreak last year, certainly, and those storms were fast movers.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
from a spotter in the area of the amarillo storm:

Is it nap time at the NWS??? That needs a tornado warning!
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
from a spotter in the area of the amarillo storm:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
TX storm 0.0 Link
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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.