March 2012: warmest in U.S. history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:12 PM GMT on April 10, 2012

Share this Blog
44
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 864 - 814

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26Blog Index

Quoting Patrap:


I had just planted my corn seeds and also my Pepper Plants, when dat hit. So Im Hoping the corn germinates, but the pepper plants did ok so far.
Same here sorta...We just planted all kinds of stuff, only to get a freeze warning tonight....Now "I" have to go save the little guys..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19558
Quoting bappit:

The oceans seem to be draining into a hole over in the Indian Ocean. Not much else besides a handful of tornadoes and some frost, wildfires and earthquakes. Dead dolphins and diseased polar bears.


U forgot bappit's wu book club circle of festive assorted New Climate Change Novels, fiction included.

: )
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bappit:

The oceans seem to be draining into a hole over in the Indian Ocean. Not much else besides a handful of tornadoes and some frost, wildfires and earthquakes. Dead dolphins and diseased polar bears.
What do you mean by that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Tornado warnings should be issued if there is any indication of rotation. You don't get additional warning time waiting till the velocity's tighten up to the point a tornado is on the ground.


In Texas, often it seems they wait for spotters to report things.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting nigel20:
What did I miss?

The oceans seem to be draining into a hole over in the Indian Ocean. Not much else besides a handful of tornadoes and some frost, wildfires and earthquakes. Dead dolphins and diseased polar bears.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
364
WUUS56 KHNX 112044
SVRHNX
CAC019-031-107-112115-
/O.NEW.KHNX.SV.W.0002.120411T2044Z-120411T2115Z/


SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY CA
144 PM PDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HANFORD CA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL FRESNO COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...
NORTHEASTERN KINGS COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF HANFORD...
EXTREME WEST CENTRAL TULARE COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA.

* UNTIL 215 PM PDT.

* AT 133 PM PDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL.


It was a mini bow echo.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
You actually got a double shot wth two lines. One can only imagine the light show you had while being sandwiched in between those monstah,s....The storms LA had were to some extent formed from the outflow boundaries put down by the Texas storms that produced the tornadoes...


I had just planted my corn seeds and also my Pepper Plants, when dat hit. So Im Hoping the corn germinates, but the pepper plants did ok so far.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


I think the rotation was too broad, but it may be tightening up now after that cycling it just went through.
Tornado warnings should be issued if there is any indication of rotation. You don't get additional warning time waiting till the velocity's tighten up to the point a tornado is on the ground.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What gets me is how slow these cells are moving.

3 of the most powerful cells are moving less than 15kts!

It's April. Stuff should be moving pretty fast, and instead its like coasting or stalled out.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1503
Quoting nigel20:
What did I miss?


One tornado warning in NE tx and a severe thunderstorm warning on the panhandle, it's just started to ramp up.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Not putting a warning on it. They did this yesterday with the storm near Childress.


If they can't see rotation they are blind
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting Patrap:
8 hours those cells demonstrated Lightening...

I almost disabled the NOAA Alert Radio early in the morn, but resisted that urge.
You actually got a double shot wth two lines. One can only imagine the light show you had while being sandwiched in between those monstah,s....The storms LA had were to some extent formed from the outflow boundaries put down by the Texas storms that produced the tornadoes...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19558
At least the one in Reeves has some forward movement so maybe won't dump on the same location for an hour. But the hail is just as big or bigger.

A0 Reeves TX 70 dBZ 36,000 ft. 60 kg/m² 100% Chance 100% Chance 3.25 in. 14 knots W (264)
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1503
What did I miss?
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7470
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Not putting a warning on it. They did this yesterday with the storm near Childress.


I think the rotation was too broad, but it may be tightening up now after that cycling it just went through.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
364
WUUS56 KHNX 112044
SVRHNX
CAC019-031-107-112115-
/O.NEW.KHNX.SV.W.0002.120411T2044Z-120411T2115Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY CA
144 PM PDT WED APR 11 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HANFORD CA HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL FRESNO COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...
NORTHEASTERN KINGS COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF HANFORD...
EXTREME WEST CENTRAL TULARE COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA.

* UNTIL 215 PM PDT.

* AT 133 PM PDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL. THIS
STORM WAS LOCATED 7 MILES NORTH OF LEMOORE...OR 7 MILES NORTHWEST
OF HANFORD...AND MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR...
9 MILES SOUTH OF KINGSBURG BY 155 PM PDT.

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 A SHELTER...
PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT AWAY FROM WINDOWS.



LAT...LON 3652 11949 3626 11945 3628 11988 3650 11989
TIME...MOT...LOC 2043Z 270DEG 24KT 3639 11966
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
8 hours those cells demonstrated Lightening...

I almost disabled the NOAA Alert Radio early in the morn, but resisted that urge.


Geesh!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
A tornado warning will likely be issued on this storm at any minute.

Not putting a warning on it. They did this yesterday with the storm near Childress.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just now seeing this vorticity spinning SE of Cabo San Lucas on visible....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good afternoon guys
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 7470
Q1 Potter TX 71 dBZ 31,000 ft. 59 kg/m² 100% Chance 100% Chance 3.00 in. 6 knots W (281)

Well, that's getting out of hand now.

That will be locally catastrophic as far as crop damage or cars or small buildings.

This will easily defoliate trees and pretty much kill any crop I can think of.

There's one in New Mexico just like it.


X0 Otero NM 68 dBZ 38,000 ft. 59 kg/m² 90% Chance 100% Chance 3.00 in. 10 knots WNW (284)

Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1503
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

We're still 324 preliminary tornadoes ahead of last year...it'll take a while for last year to catch up.


with last years april, i dont know.

April 14-16 had quite a few and is rapidly approaching, we would need this next event to carry the load.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Articuno:

I know, it made me sick when I first read it as well.
I mean seriously...What cruel person/people what kill (on purpose) one of the world's gentlest creatures!


Don't forget "most intelligent."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Today begins 2012s catchup attempt, and the race to stay ahead of 2011:

We're still 324 preliminary tornadoes ahead of last year...it'll take a while for last year to catch up.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30266
Quoting Articuno:

I know, it made me sick when I first read it as well.
I mean seriously...What cruel person/people what kill (on purpose) one of the world's gentlest creatures!


BP comes to mind..

Louisiana dolphins are 'very sick;' study of 'unusual mortality event' continues
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012, 3:48 PM
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txjac:
3000 dolphins found dead along Peru coastline.

What's wrong with me? I cant read about this as I love all animals ...however murder stories and autopsies dont bother me ...

Poor little dolphins

I know, it made me sick when I first read it as well.
I mean seriously...What cruel person/people what kill (on purpose) one of the world's gentlest creatures!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


I'm about to get slammed pat...


be safe.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
8 hours those cells demonstrated Lightening...

I almost disabled the NOAA Alert Radio early in the morn, but resisted that urge.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Dark mammatus clouds approaching from these cells inbound into the NOLA area..



I'm about to get slammed pat...
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
It may become necessary to put a severe tstorm warning in the cell south of dalhart but I don't see a hail core yet.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Patrap said these had some of the worst lightening he had ever seen...And he has seen plenty..Shows up nicely here...
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19558
Dark mammatus clouds approaching from these cells inbound into the NOLA area..

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
There's more where all that came from ... no doubt. Check out Fancy a doomsday date? If things get really bad, it may be your best bet.

"If you want some optimism, there's that icon of postmodernist survivalism, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who, on a date in one of the later series, is told by her boyfriend that knowing her leads to him puzzling over what the plural for apocalypse is."

Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Today begins 2012s catchup attempt, and the race to stay ahead of 2011:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Any particular reasons the NWS hasn't issued a tornado warning?


It clearly is rotating and it isn't rain wrapped yet so of there's a storm chaser over that way then try will see it it's only a matter of time
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Rotating wall cloud and funnels with the storm in the Texas Panhandle.


yes, and 2.75 inch hail.

That's the one I was talking about.

It is a very slow mover if it's exactly the same cell.

Somebody is going to hit very hard if they are in the path of it, hail, wind either way.

North of Amarillo

72 reflectivity and VIL above 50.


And yeah, I got no clue why that isn't a tornado.

-87kts and plus 122kts max wind, and clear signature on the radar.

Maybe nothing's on the ground yet...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 32 Comments: 1503
Here is that unusual squall line that moved into the gulf on April-4..This system had several overshooting cloud tops indicating supercell structures.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19558
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Oops... I don't even know my directions...


I guess you saw it too


I only see a severe t storm warning but I'm not sure.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Rotating wall cloud and funnels with the storm in the Texas Panhandle.

Any particular reasons the NWS hasn't issued a tornado warning?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

GEMPAK is not easy at all to get. There are several other programs that you have to install before getting GEMPAK to work. That and coding is necessary. I had to get a friend to do it for me and it took forever.


I ain't getting it then because I don't have friends that can do it haha
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439
Rotating wall cloud and funnels with the storm in the Texas Panhandle.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30266
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Correction: NE

Oops... I don't even know my directions...

Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
A tornado warning will likely be issued on this storm at any minute.


I guess you saw it too
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Incoming:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tornado passing over hwy 287

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:




Do you need a membership on that unidata site to get the GEMPAK?

GEMPAK is not easy at all to get. There are several other programs that you have to install before getting GEMPAK to work. That and coding is necessary. I had to get a friend to do it for me and it took forever.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30266
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like a storm SE of Channing Texas really needs a tornado warning
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bappit:
Here's another gem from the Amazon erotica/climate science category. I can't imagine where the author got the idea for this one.

Exposure by Rex J. Fleming

"Product Description

"EXPOSURE is a fast paced thriller where the hero must outwit criminal and terrorist elements trying to stop him from delivering his final testimony to expose the global warming fraud.

"A secular debate will be the final battlefield to maintain the fossil fuel warming theory. The battle will be hard fought as there is much at stake. There has been a 40-year buildup of hype on the issue with many constituents benefitting [sic] professionally and/or financially from the false theory. High drama builds as the debate draws near, and the lives of the hero and his wife are at stake."


Senator James Inhofe?
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 2876
warning on the next storm in the E TX line...pass it on storms:

TORNADO WARNING
TXC401-112115-
/O.NEW.KSHV.TO.W.0033.120411T2022Z-120411T2115Z/

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

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN RUSK COUNTY IN NORTHEAST TEXAS...

* UNTIL 415 PM CDT

* AT 319 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO NEAR MINDEN...OR
14 MILES SOUTH OF HENDERSON...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 10 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO MOUNT
ENTERPRISE AND LAWSONVILLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. THIS
STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING TORNADOES. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF
THIS TORNADO...TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.

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 3184 9469 3196 9481 3204 9465 3199 9459
3197 9459 3197 9457 3192 9451
TIME...MOT...LOC 2022Z 326DEG 5KT 3197 9471
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Tomorrow.

Eek..













Do you need a membership on that unidata site to get the GEMPAK?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6439

Viewing: 864 - 814

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26Blog Index

Top of Page

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.