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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TX storm 0.0 Link
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
the california tornado had a possible hook and debris ball, ......interesting.

I noticed that... very unusual
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7297
the california tornado had a possible hook and debris ball, ......interesting.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9452
The one back by Dalhart is re-intensifying as well.

Man, I guess it's a good thing these cells didn't hit heavily populated areas.

Imagine if you owned a car dealership?!
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This panhandle storm looks really dangerous on radar... A tornado warning is badly needed
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7297
959. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
We can begin to search for this system in about 4 days. The GFS is forecasting Low shear in that region of formation in about 5 days and it will last for about 3 days.


Some of the models use the energy from the wanna be blob off the SE Bahamas + front sweeping FL to pull this together.
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The CMC wants a slightly negative trough in the SE US, and the ECMWF, which was trending a little to the GFS, is coming back to that solution, but is not quite there yet.

I will see what the new GFS wants to tell us.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9452
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think it may have hailed in the Texas Panhandle...just a little..


Looks like a flood now.
Link
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I'm still surprised at the lack of a tornado warning on the TX panhandle storm.


It's up to 7.8in max rainfall estimated by radar now.

Edit: 8.1in damn...as fast as I can type it spits out another 0.3 inches.

That's sickening.

It's been climbing by 0.3in to 0.4in per 10 minute frame, which is incredible.

the hail is still there as well, and on the NWS radar site, it actually looks like it might be re-intensifying again, as there are a few pixels back above 70dbz again with a nice patch of 65 or more.


see:

D0 Potter TX 66 dBZ 39,000 ft. 63 kg/m 100% Chance 100% Chance 2.50 in. 6 knots W (275)

Another core has formed in there about as strong as ever and continues nearly stationary.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You don't have to do that anymore, you can just post directly from the site.


oh they fixed it! Great!
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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIDLAND/ODESSA TX
450 PM CDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIDLAND HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN REEVES COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS...
EAST CENTRAL CULBERSON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 545 PM CDT

* AT 446 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TWO AND HALF INCH SIZE
HAIL
...AND DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS
LOCATED OVER EXTREME EAST CENTRAL CULBERSON COUNTY...OR 34 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF MENTONE...MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL AFFECT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...
WESTERN REEVES COUNTY...
CENTRAL REEVES COUNTY...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH... PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS... DESTRUCTIVE HAIL... AND DEADLY
CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO SHELTER...
PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING AWAY FROM WINDOWS.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
1930      5 SW STOCKTON    SAN JOAQUIN CA    3792    12137     TORNADO BRIEFLY TOUCHED DOWN SOUTHWEST OF STOCKTON ON WEST HOWARD ROAD. DAMAGE REPORTED INCLUDES DESTRUCTION OF A 40 FT OUTBUILDING, ROOF DAMAGE TO OTHER STRUCTURES, AN (STO)


told you we were due.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9452
Quoting HurricaneDean07:

That's when "Alberto" (Forecasted to form by the Euro) Collides with a trough and is ripped apart one piece lifts up toward Nova Scotia, The other collides with the front near the southeast coast.


oh okay..cant wait to see what happens.
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I'm still surprised at the lack of a tornado warning on the TX panhandle storm.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7297
...

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
We can begin to search for this system in about 4 days. The GFS is forecasting Low shear in that region of formation in about 5 days and it will last for about 3 days.
funny on sunday april 15
3 days from now iam planning on my 2012 tropical season launch day for my blog page right on cue with poss dev system
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Quoting ncstorm:
whats that at the end of the Euro run?


You don't have to do that anymore, you can just post directly from the site.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258
Quoting ncstorm:
whats that at the end of the Euro run?



That is a tropical storm or at least some sort of hybrid, if we're looking at the same thing.

Maybe they'll call it a STS, or a "warm seclusion" or some other such, time will tell I guess if it verifies.
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Might have a decent line of storms move through the Denver metro area in a little while. Exciting!


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Quoting ncstorm:
whats that at the end of the Euro run?


That's when "Alberto" (Forecasted to form by the Euro) Collides with a trough and is ripped apart one piece lifts up toward Nova Scotia, The other collides with the front near the southeast coast.
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This is not normal..

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258
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whats that at the end of the Euro run?

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Radar estimated max "rainfall" near all those hail storms north of Amarillo is 7.1inches.

Edit: Next frame says 7.4 inches.


It's no wonder as long as it was in excess of 2 inches max size, with max sizes as high as 3.5 at one time in the region.

Some of the warnings on those cells are still at 1.25 inch max size, and they've only moved a couple dozen miles in the entire event.
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1930      5 SW STOCKTON    SAN JOAQUIN CA    3792    12137     TORNADO BRIEFLY TOUCHED DOWN SOUTHWEST OF STOCKTON ON WEST HOWARD ROAD. DAMAGE REPORTED INCLUDES DESTRUCTION OF A 40 FT OUTBUILDING, ROOF DAMAGE TO OTHER STRUCTURES, AN (STO)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258
Quoting TheOnlyBravesFan:


Nice... here in Georgia, I wait til the end of April... I saw people starting gardens here in the middle of March!!!

We started our garden in Late-February. It was in the 90's one of those days... (In Central-East Texas)
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
If you want to see how strong the Euro gives "Invest 91L" here you go.

Euro 500 MB Height anamolies


Pre*invest 91l
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258
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We can begin to search for this system in about 4 days. The GFS is forecasting Low shear in that region of formation in about 5 days and it will last for about 3 days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY CA
243 PM PDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HANFORD CA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
WEST CENTRAL TULARE COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...

* UNTIL 315 PM PDT

* AT 240 PM PDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO OVER WEST
CENTRAL TULARE COUNTY...OR 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF VISALIA...MOVING
NORTHEAST AT 10 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
RURAL NORTHWESTERN TULARE COUNTY AT 300 PM PDT

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A
WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS
AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN
INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO
COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

&&

LAT...LON 3653 11926 3640 11922 3637 11941 3646 11946
TIME...MOT...LOC 2143Z 246DEG 9KT 3643 11938

$$
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258

300
WFUS56 KHNX 112143
TORHNX
CAC107-112215-
/O.NEW.KHNX.TO.W.0001.120411T2143Z-120411T2215Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY CA
243 PM PDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HANFORD CA HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
WEST CENTRAL TULARE COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...

* UNTIL 315 PM PDT

* AT 240 PM PDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO OVER WEST
CENTRAL TULARE COUNTY...OR 8 MILES NORTHWEST OF VISALIA...MOVING
NORTHEAST AT 10 MPH.

* THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
RURAL NORTHWESTERN TULARE COUNTY AT 300 PM PDT

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE DURING A TORNADO IS IN A BASEMENT. GET UNDER A
WORKBENCH OR OTHER PIECE OF STURDY FURNITURE. IF NO BASEMENT IS
AVAILABLE...SEEK SHELTER ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF THE BUILDING IN AN
INTERIOR HALLWAY OR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET. USE BLANKETS OR PILLOWS TO
COVER YOUR BODY AND ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE
NEAREST DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.



LAT...LON 3653 11926 3640 11922 3637 11941 3646 11946
TIME...MOT...LOC 2143Z 246DEG 9KT 3643 11938
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
12Z runs:
Canadian(CMC)
European(EMCWF) Operational
American(GFS)
Nogaps(NGP)

They all show the system... Though some are more aggressive with the formation of it, than others.


Wow.

3 show a very significant system over the plains now as they have for some time now.

3 also show decent development on the sub-tropical or tropical storm over the central Atlantic, though they do different things with it.

Very interesting scenario indeed.

Euro has been on the "outbreak" scenario for a week now, and has been on again / off-again on the tropical system for three days now.


It looks like it could all be legit...

Well, one of the models still took the "outbreak" below 990mb so it's still not playing around with that either.
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The origin of AOI #2 of 2012, is from a low along a trough that breaks away as its cut off by the Strong Azores High. Once it detatches it forms as a subtropical system, but then organizes into a tropical storm with 1001 MB (From the Euro). This Could become Alberto... You never know.
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The Euro is very agressive with this Subtropical system... Brings it to 1001 MB, and very well organized, it shows it form as a subtropical System then become tropical and survive for a day or two before a front sucks it up. Read 928. for the link.
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
If you want to see how strong the Euro gives "Invest 91L" here you go.

Euro 500 MB Height anamolies


I might have to start watching this more closely. The GFS 500 mb forecast fields indicates that the system isn't all that attached to a front:

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If you want to see how strong the Euro gives "Invest 91L" here you go.

Euro 500 MB Height anamolies
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The cells near Otero, NM are still going as well, but have also weakened slightly and gained a bit of forwards speed.

X0 Otero NM 65 dBZ 37,000 ft. 37 kg/m² 80% Chance 100% Chance 2.50 in. 19 knots W (273)
P0 Otero NM 67 dBZ 33,000 ft. 35 kg/m² 90% Chance 100% Chance 2.25 in. 17 knots W (272)


that's just ridiculously long time for hail cores to stay that powerful and in the exact same location.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


almost looks like a tornado in the front, cant tell if that is rain or the wall cloud
I still dont get why this storm has no tornado warning.
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12Z runs:
Canadian(CMC)
European(EMCWF) Operational
American(GFS)
Nogaps(NGP)

They all show the system... Though some are more aggressive with the formation of it, than others.

Agression of the system(order):
Euro
Canadian
Gfs
Nogaps
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Great view of it now. Link


almost looks like a tornado in the front, cant tell if that is rain or the wall cloud
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Whoa.



Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30258
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
That storm near Amarillo has a wall cloud on it. Had a really good view of it on MIDSCAR for a little while. Its amazing you could see the storm from that far away.
Great view of it now. Link
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Anyone notice what the Euro is doing with the subtorpical System now?
Its becoming in more of an agreement on a full fledged trough split and looks like a reasonable origin
The GFS has backed off a bit, still showing the system, but much weaker and less excited with it.. The Canadian and Nogaps have jumped on the bandwagon as well, but are just about as excited about it as the GFS.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think it may have hailed in the Texas Panhandle...just a little..



I was about to say.

Apparently Potter, Texas and a few surrounding areas north of Amarillo are still getting max hail of 2 inches or more.

It's been like that for like 40 minutes to an hour.

The cells are still barely moving. sometimes as little as 4 knots forward speed.


Someone ought to have some truly epic videos of this by now.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think it may have hailed in the Texas Panhandle...just a little..



In the words of my youngest siblings, "Is that snow?!"
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TORNADO WARNING
TXC347-419-112145-
/O.NEW.KSHV.TO.W.0035.120411T2106Z-120411T2145Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SHREVEPORT LA
406 PM CDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN NACOGDOCHES COUNTY IN EASTERN TEXAS...
WEST CENTRAL SHELBY COUNTY IN EASTERN TEXAS...

* UNTIL 445 PM CDT

* AT 403 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR STOCKMAN...
MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 10 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
ARCADIA AND JERICHO...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT STRONG ROTATION HAS BEEN DETECTED IN THE
STORM. A TORNADO MAY ALREADY BE ON THE GROUND...OR IS EXPECTED TO
DEVELOP SHORTLY. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS DANGEROUS STORM...
MOVE INDOORS AND TO THE LOWEST LEVEL OF THE BUILDING. STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS. IF DRIVING...DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER A HIGHWAY OVERPASS.

IF IN MOBILE HOMES OR VEHICLES...EVACUATE THEM AND GET INSIDE A
STURDY SHELTER. IF NO SHELTER IS AVAILABLE...LIE FLAT IN THE NEAREST
DITCH OR OTHER LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH YOUR HANDS.

&&

LAT...LON 3171 9421 3166 9439 3176 9448 3181 9440
TIME...MOT...LOC 2106Z 318DEG 7KT 3174 9442

$$

06
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13307
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think it may have hailed in the Texas Panhandle...just a little..



I remember one time there was 12-18 inches of pea sized hail in NW GA.
SNOWMAN TIME!!!!!

Or maybe it is ice man
Needless to say, the plants did not appreciate the sudden winter.

Then another time i saw a report of 2-3 feet of hail in NJ........sounds like fun
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9452
That storm near Amarillo has a wall cloud on it. Had a really good view of it on MIDSCAR for a little while. Its amazing you could see the storm from that far away.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I think it may have hailed in the Texas Panhandle...just a little..



thats a lot of hail in dumas
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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.