U.S. experiences warmest 12-month period on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:09 PM GMT on May 08, 2012

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The past twelve months were the warmest twelve months in U.S. history, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Tuesday, in their monthly "State of the Climate" report. Temperatures in the contiguous U.S. during May 2011 - April 2012 broke the previous record for warmest 12-month period, set November 1999 - October 2000, by 0.1°F. The past twelve months have featured America's 2nd warmest summer, 4th warmest winter, and warmest March on record. Twenty-two states were record warm for the 12-month period, and an additional nineteen states were top ten warm. NOAA said that the January - April 2012 period was also the warmest January - April period since record keeping began in 1895. The average temperature of 45.4°F during January - April 2012 was 5.4°F above the 20th century average for the period, and smashed the previous record set in 2006 by an unusually large margin--1.6°F.


Figure 1. The ten warmest 12-month periods in the contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 2. The average temperature of 45.4°F during January - April 2012 was the warmest on record: 5.4°F above the 20th century average for the period, and was 1.6°F above the previous record set in 2006. January - April temperatures have been rising at about 1.9°F per century since 1895. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

April 2012: 3rd warmest on record
April 2012 was the third warmest April in the contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895. Ten states had a top-ten warmest April, and no states were cooler than average. But what's really remarkable about April was that eight states--Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia--had average April temperatures cooler than their March temperatures, even though their April temperatures were still above the long-term average for the month. These statistics show just how remarkably warm March 2012 was. Most extreme was Illinois, where April 2012 temperatures ranked in the top 20% for warmest Aprils, yet were cooler than March 2012 temperatures.


Figure 3. Temperature rankings for April 2012 in the Contiguous U.S. Ten states had a top-ten warmest April, and no states were cooler than average. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 4. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - April shows that 2012 had the most extreme weather on record.

Most extreme January - April on record
NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), an index that tracks the highest 10 percent and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, was 42% during the January-April period, over twice the average value, and the greatest on record. Remarkably, 82% of the contiguous U.S. had maximum temperatures that were in the warmest 10% historically, and 68% had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%, with records going back to 1910. The previous records were 56% (2000) and 57% (1992) for maximum and minimum temperatures, respectively. The percentage area of the U.S. experiencing top-10% drought conditions during January - April was 19%, which was the 17th greatest since 1910. Extremes in precipitation as computed by the CEI were near average for the January - April period.

Jeff Masters

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1384. xcool
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Press, you and I need to have a civil discusion, on this so called Carolinas thing you have. What's wrong with it?
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Town of Weimer Texas has suffered a tornadic episode, hospital badly damaged.


NWS: Tornado touches down in Weimar


A tornado touchdown in Weimar caused injuries, derailed at least one train and damaged a hospital enough to prompt an evacuati
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Any updates on potential-Alberto?
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Quoting PedleyCA:


North South Carolina.


exactly
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Quoting presslord:


you do not, in fact, live in 'the Carolinas'....you live in what is appropriately referred to as "Lesser Carolina"...or "Carolina Lite"


North South Carolina.
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Quoting presslord:


everything was fine when the Lords Proprietor ruled the Carolinas from Charleston...


actually....it was called simply "Carolina"
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I currently live in The Carolinas; I've never visited The Virginias nor The Dakotas.


you do not, in fact, live in 'the Carolinas'....you live in what is appropriately referred to as "Lesser Carolina"...or "Carolina Lite"
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Approaching 86 F...
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
Quoting aspectre:
Yep, quit tryin' to split North and South. The Carolinas have been happily married for spans of several days at a time in their hundreds of years together.


everything was fine when the Lords Proprietor ruled the Carolinas from Charleston...
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I currently live in The Carolinas; I've never visited The Virginias nor The Dakotas.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33575
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Either track is climatologically favored this time of year.

It's favored by me too... I need the rain.
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 589
1366 presslord: ...the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem....

Yep, quit tryin' to split North and South. The Carolinas have been happily married for spans lasting as long as several days at a time in their hundreds of years together.
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1371. nigel20
May 10, 2012 SST's

The SST's are steaming off the western coast of central america
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 8746
Quoting Grothar:
Where does the water in Waterspouts come from?

The world will never know...
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33575
1369. RTLSNK
Quoting Grothar:
Where does the water in Waterspouts come from?


Don't worry Grothar, someone will have the answer. :)
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1368. nigel20
The SOI is upto +3.7, but the upward trend is not as fast as before...it could be on it's way back negative
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 8746
Quoting presslord:


it's OK...the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem....


I know the feeling though... when people refer to West Virginia and Virginia as the Virginias... Don't want to be lumped in the same category as them "mountain folk"...
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Just realized that I made the faux pas of referring to North Carolina and South Carolina as the "Carolinas"....



it's OK...the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem....
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Quoting Grothar:


Someone's cruising..........


cursing....someone's cursing.....
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1295 bohonkweatherman: We had tree experts on the Local News last night saying the Drought in parts of Texas last year was the worst drought for some parts since the 1700's? I am not sure how they could tell...
1305 bappit: Get enough tree rings and you'd know. Live oaks and bald cypress are long-lived trees. Found this article on a study published here if that helps.
1318 DavidHOUTX: Thanks for that information. I was stating it would be difficult to date back to the 1700s.

Don't need long-lived species to create records extending well past short-lived species lifespans, just a continuity of preserved trees that overlapped parts of their lifespans. Dendrochronology
Even preserved lumber can be used as samples for the purpose of such crossdating.
In areas in which trees lived near long-lived streams, rivers, watering holes, ponds, or lakes, one can crosscheck (and also further extend crossdates) by comparing yearly sediment layers against yearly growth in tree rings.
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1362. Grothar
Where does the water in Waterspouts come from?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27512
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

That's why I've found it odd that the last two 12z runs of the GFS have been seemingly very unreliable and inconsistent compared with the other runs... Yesterday's 12z showed a hurricane hitting south Florida... The track made sense but intensity seemed way over done... And then today's 12z the intensity made sense but the track towards Tampa seemed very unlikely. The 0z tonight will probably tell the real story, whatever that may be.

Either track is climatologically favored this time of year.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33575
1360. Grothar
Quoting hydrus:
I would guess 1550 miles from the Carolina,s. Considering the Carolina,s jut so far out into the Atlantic. I think thats why the Carolina,s get hit so much. 1999,s Floyd was the worst Carolina,s hurricane in many years...


Someone's cruising..........
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27512
That's 12 Earths from end to end

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 85 Comments: 8145
1358. Patrap


The SWPC in Boulder issued a flare alert after an M-class flare in active region 11476. Here is an EVE plot from noon today showing the history of spectral irradiances. We usually look at the blue line in the top panel, the ESP 0.1-7 nm radiometer. It is very similar to the GOES X-ray measurements. The M-class flare is the spike in the blue line just after 0400 UT today. The dark count is a measure of the energetic particles hitting SDO and usually rises around 1800 UT each day because of the Earth's radiation belts.



sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov
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Very nasty looking hook with a TVS on the lead tornado warned storm in TX... Rotation doesn't seem to strong though
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 85 Comments: 8145
18Z developed this system way earlier than the last one and should be disregarded compared to the 12z and 00z.
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1355. Patrap
Quoting Grothar:





Dating wasn't difficult in the 1700's. But getting permission from King was.





They we're a tad overbearing with the Tea and That A& P outfit, I mean, Lafitte never had the problems the Americans had, till, well, New Orleans and that didnt fare to well fer dem downriver in Chalmette,

Crawfish?
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1354. Grothar
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


Thanks for that information. I was stating it would be difficult to date back to the 1700s.



Quoting bappit:

Grothar would know.


Dating wasn't difficult in the 1700's. But getting permission from the King was.


Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27512
1353. Patrap
Quoting presslord:


Floyd caused much traffic mayhem in this part of what you erroneously...and annoyingly...refer to as 'the Carolinas'





Oh we remember that one, dont we Andy?,


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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Remember 13 that the 00z and 12z runs always have the best data incorporated.

That's why I've found it odd that the last two 12z runs of the GFS have been seemingly very unreliable and inconsistent compared with the other runs... Yesterday's 12z showed a hurricane hitting south Florida... The track made sense but intensity seemed way over done... And then today's 12z the intensity made sense but the track towards Tampa seemed very unlikely. The 0z tonight will probably tell the real story, whatever that may be.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 85 Comments: 8145
Quoting Patrap:
..seems the Atlantic seasonal start may have to be moved to the May 15th mark in the futcha'..


The East Pac does and well, we have been leaning into it as well earlier on avg.

Maybe a good subject for a Graduate.



Yes I agree it should now, mays have become what junes used to be,

For a graduate to get their doctorate
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6540
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I agree... There were too many differences in this from from the last several to put any trust in it.

Having said that I'm very skeptical of this potential storm... Until it gets support from the Euro I'm not buying it.

I should probably warn you before we go into hurricane season that the ECMWF is a highly reliable model. The model is not god, it does miss multiple systems during the season.

I think it'll catch onto it eventually.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33575
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I would throw out the 18Z GFS...it shows development entirely too early.


Remember 13 that the 00z and 12z runs always have the best data incorporated.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I would throw out the 18Z GFS...it shows development entirely too early.

I agree... There were too many differences in this run from from the last several runs to put any trust in it.

Having said that I'm very skeptical of this potential storm... Until it gets support from the Euro I'm not buying it.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 85 Comments: 8145
Quoting hydrus:
I would guess 1550 miles from the Carolina,s. Considering the Carolina,s jut so far out into the Atlantic. I think thats why the Carolina,s get hit so much. 1999,s Floyd was the worst Carolina,s hurricane in many years...


Floyd caused much traffic mayhem in this part of what you erroneously...and annoyingly...refer to as 'the Carolinas'
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I would throw out the 18Z GFS...it shows development entirely too early.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33575
1345. nigel20
Good evening all
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 8746
1344. Patrap
Uploaded by TexasParksWildlife on May 19, 2011

What can old Texas trees teach us about our climate? One researcher is finding out. Follow Dr. Malcolm Cleaveland from the University of Arkansas as he taps the secrets of the cypress trees and learns the warnings they may hold for water planners. See how tree rings give clues to years of drought and floods.

See our PBS show schedule on our web site

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/tv/

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1343. Patrap
..seems the Atlantic seasonal start may have to be moved to the May 15th mark in the futcha'..


The East Pac does and well, we have been leaning into it as well earlier on avg.

Maybe a good subject for a Graduate.

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Quoting DavidHOUTX:


We had something like that on our news too. I know something like 70% of the trees in Hermann Park in Houston died last year from the drought. The only way I could imagine them being able to tell the date was from Tree rings but even then, that would have to be difficult to conclude. I just hope I (or anybody)ever has experience anything like that again.
There has been a large on-going study of tree rings, specifically Balding Cypress tree rings. Some go back to the 1300-1400's.

There was recently a story on Texas Parks & Wildlife on PBS about it.
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Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 635
Quoting hurricane23:
I think its more likely that we will see genesis take place in the E-PAC from possible vorticity originating in the Carib.
seen this happen before
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There is a waterspout with the supercell over water, and id be willing to bet its a good one.

Wonder what effect waterspouts have on oilrigs.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9769
1338. hydrus
Quoting WxGeekVA:


What is that near the Carolinas?
I would guess 1550 miles from the Carolina,s. Considering the Carolina,s jut so far out into the Atlantic. I think thats why the Carolina,s get hit so much. 1999,s Floyd was the worst Carolina,s hurricane in many years...
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Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 33575
Quoting WxGeekVA:


What is that near the Carolinas?


shush
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Quite the busted forecast for SEFL peninsula today, lol.
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Quoting OrchidGrower:
Re: 1290 -- Jedkins, I will have lived in SW Florida now for 3 years come June; and I've been a bit mortified at how dry we've stayed here in Cape Coral during that time. Our City Council just passed a new measure for tighter restrictions on water use, and during the debate this was the first I've heard anyone locally mention that we're in what is now a 7-year drought for Cape Coral!

I wonder at what point scientists decide an area has passed drought and simply slipped into a different climate. Anyway, I would live with year-round showers and t-storms if I could ... am truly hoping we're just in a stubborn drought and that it's going to back to a rainier pattern than I've ever seen in my 3 years here!

(Not sure what your local rain tallies are but mine are around 5 inches for the year 2012.)




Yeah, around here it too seems we suffer drought a lot more often than having average rain or above average rain. While it seems much of the U.S. appears to be getting more extreme with rainfall and thunderstorms in comparison to normal, it seems that overall rainfall and thunderstorms are doing the opposite here in Florida, becoming less intense and less often. I haven't done any research to prove it's true, so I'm not going to make any claims as if it is fact, but it sure feels this way...


Maybe it's just more of a long term climate cycle, I just hope we aren't actually experiencing climate change in Florida, granted less destructive weather is a plus, but less rainfall isn't...

There better be some return to more classic Florida weather over the next 5 years, because over the last 5 years things have not been the same.


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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.

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