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

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:04 PM GMT on July 09, 2012

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Thanks in part to the historic heat wave that demolished thousands of high temperature records at the end of June, temperatures in the contiguous U.S. were the warmest on record over the past twelve months and for the year-to-date period of January - June, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Monday. June 2012 was the 14th warmest June on record, so was not as extreme overall as March 2012 (first warmest March on record), April (third warmest April), or May (second warmest May.) However, temperatures were warm enough in June to set a new U.S. record for hottest 12-month period for the third straight month, narrowly eclipsing the record set just the previous month. The past thirteen months have featured America's 2nd warmest summer (in 2011), 4th warmest winter, and warmest spring on record. Twenty-six states were record warm for the 12-month period, and an additional sixteen states were top-ten warm. The year-to-date period of January - June was the warmest on record by an unusually large margin--1.2°F.


Figure 1. This time series shows the five warmest years that the contiguous U.S. has experienced, and how the year-to-date temperature evolved each month throughout those years. The time series also shows the 2012 year-to-date temperature through June, which was the warmest first half of any year on record for the lower 48. The 2012 data are still preliminary. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 2. Four of the top-ten warmest 12-month periods in the contiguous U.S. since 1895 have occurred since April 2011. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

Most extreme January - June period on record
NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, was 44% during the year-to-date January - June period. This is the highest value since CEI record-keeping began in 1910, and more than twice the average value. Remarkably, 83% of the contiguous U.S. had maximum temperatures that were in the warmest 10% historically during the first six months of 2012, and 70% of the U.S. of the U.S. had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%. The percentage area of the U.S. experiencing top-10% drought conditions was 20%, which was the 14th greatest since 1910. Extremes in 1-day spring heavy precipitation events were near average.


Figure 3. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - June shows that 2012 has had the most extreme first six months of the year on record, with 44% of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% extreme weather.

Tuesday Webinar on the future of extreme weather impacts on business
I'm presenting a 12-minute Webinar talk on the future of weather-related disasters at 2 pm EDT Tuesday July 10. If you want to register (it's free) and listen in, visit the propertycasualty360.com web site. The title of the webinar is, "The Year-Round CAT Season: Is Your Business Prepared for Increasingly Frequent Severe Weather?"

"New McCarthyism" targets climate scientists
Bill Blakemore with ABC News has an interesting five-part interview with climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, where Dr. Mann explains how a "New McCarthyism" is targeting climate scientists. I reviewed Dr. Mann's excellent book, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars", earlier this year.

A 1 in 1.6 million event?
I originally wrote in this post that "Each of the 13 months from June 2011 through June 2012 ranked among the warmest third of their historical distribution for the first time in the 1895 - present record. According to NCDC, the odds of this occurring randomly during any particular month are 1 in 1,594,323. Thus, we should only see one more 13-month period so warm between now and 124,652 AD--assuming the climate is staying the same as it did during the past 118 years."

It has been pointed out to me that the calculation of a 1 in 1.6 million chance of occurrence (based on taking the number 1/3 and raising it to the 13th power) would be true only if each month had no correlation to the next month. Since weather patterns tend to persist, they are not truly random from one month to the next. Thus, the odds of such an event occurring are greater than 1 in 1.6 million--but are still very rare. I appreciate hearing from those of you who wrote to point out a correction was needed.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting jeffs713:
Huh? I'm in Houston (heck, that "swirl" is less than 10 miles from my house), and that is anything but "well defined". It is a kinda-sorta-really-not-organized MCS trying to get going. No swirl. No tropical entity forming. Not necessary for watching closely.

If we start watching that closely, we might as well start watching each individual thunderstorm that forms in the MDR.


Thanks Jeffs. I was the party pooper on the Florida blob but was waiting on someone from your parts to handle the Texas blob.......... :)
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
1870. LargoFl
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
..oh man we are in for it today
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33348
1869. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Quoting bohonkweatherman:
3 day total here of about half an inch, those who are getting rains in Texas are getting them but several locations are getting little due to slow to no movement. I am happy some parts of Texas are getting Lucky though just wished it was me. LOL, have a great day. The cracks in the ground are several inches and the ponds are almost dried up so Yes bring on the rain.


Yes, I do wish it was more wide spread and provide some broader relief. Raining hard south of Houston now. Coming straight down hard with little or no wind. strange.
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Anyone see a slight spin right at the coastline near Miami?
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1866. LargoFl
Quoting Patrap:
G' morning wunderland
...........good morning
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33348
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Watchout if this swirl near Houston makes it's way into the Gulf. Very well defined system here over Houston.

Huh? I'm in Houston (heck, that "swirl" is less than 10 miles from my house), and that is anything but "well defined". It is a kinda-sorta-really-not-organized MCS trying to get going. No swirl. No tropical entity forming. Not necessary for watching closely.

If we start watching that closely, we might as well start watching each individual thunderstorm that forms in the MDR.
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1864. Patrap
G' morning wunderland
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Quoting jrweatherman:


Scientists rely on data for a very short period in our globes history. It is hard for people to believe that based on that data that it is actually fact. Just like religion, scientists want to disprove that Jesus was the son of God by using fact when it is very much based on faith. In both cases, people are not going to believe science.



Which data?
Stable isotopes in varves?
Ice core records?
Palynology?
Paleo-environmental indicators?
Fossil records?
How far back do you want to go?

And what's with the religion non sequitur, anyway?
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Quoting Patrap:


Good morning Pat.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:



Yeah this area from SE TX up to NC is in for a deluge over the next several days due to a stalled frontal boundry.
D.C wants some of dat!.
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1860. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125572
Quoting ncstorm:
We had some terrible lightening last night with storms that came through..and the thunder..whew!! Round two today and then round 3 tomorrow and then round 4 after that and then round 6..back to back lows are supposed to move off the NC coast with the front parked for several days..






Yeah this area from SE TX up to NC is in for a deluge over the next several days due to a stalled frontal boundry.
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1858. ncstorm
We had some terrible lightening last night with storms that came through..and the thunder..whew!! Round two today and then round 3 tomorrow and then round 4 after that and then round 5..back to back lows are supposed to move off the NC coast with the front parked for several days..



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1857. icmoore
Fair

81°F

27°C
Humidity77% Wind SpeedSE 7 mph Barometer30.04 in (1017.3 mb) Dewpoint73°F (23°C) Visibility10.00 mi Heat Index86°F (30°C) Last Update on 11 Jul 8:53 am EDT
Madeira Beach, Fl

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1856. ncstorm
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Watchout if this swirl near Houston makes it's way into the Gulf. Very well defined system here over Houston.

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Quoting Pirate999:


I'm loving the rain from our Texas blob!
3 day total here of about half an inch, those who are getting rains in Texas are getting them but several locations are getting little due to slow to no movement. I am happy some parts of Texas are getting Lucky though just wished it was me. LOL, have a great day. The cracks in the ground are several inches and the ponds are almost dried up so Yes bring on the rain.
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Quoting Grothar:
Blobs,blobs....and more blobs!!.
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Quoting Grothar:


I'm loving the rain from our Texas blob!
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


It's very weak but as you can see something is trying to get going here.



It's all Mid and ULL
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1850. Grothar
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23710
Quoting BahaHurican:
I'm not quite sure why we're all so happy to be rained on today, but to all,

Enjoy!

Gotta run! lol

I am so thankful for the rain if it comes. It's been so hot and sunny that my AC unit on my second floor runs from around 1pm to about 7 nonstop. At least if if rains, my unit will get a break....and so will I on my electric bill.
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Quoting Grothar:
I think I see a pinhole eye somewhere in there.
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T he regularity of ULL systems within the MDR and the continued dry and stable upper levels are responsible for what appears to be an inactive july
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Can SeaDAS or VIIRS pick up methane plumes, or toxic algae bloom fumes over the ocean?
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West Palm Beach, Palm Beach International Airport (KPBI)
Humidity90%
Wind SpeedS 17 G 26 mph
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Boy this lightning pounding over at Cape Canaveral.
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1842. ARiot
Quoting StormTracker2K:
HPC might want to consider uping these totals across FL as there has been some excessive rains with these thunderstorms coming thru here.



I join just about everyone in the lower and middle South when I welcome the rain!

Thankfully for us in the TN Valley (at least the eastern half) we're getting more rain than predicted.

Heavy "Gulf-like" moisture in the air. Not too many severe storms. Perfect. I hope it gets stuck here!
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



Be careful that your dogma doesn't get ran over by your karma...
Well he called me stupid once and said some other negative things to me.I didn't bother to argue with him so I just put him on ignore.
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Here is closest bouy to ground zero just offshore of Key Largo. Pressures are rising........Winds are gusting but no low is forming.

Station MLRF1
NDBC
Location: 25.012N 80.376W
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:00:00 UTC

Winds: NNE (20°) at 13.0 kt gusting to 14.0 kt
Atmospheric Pressure: 30.03 in and rising
Air Temperature: 76.3 F
Water Temperature: 82.9 F
View Details - View History
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
most of the comments here in relation to cyclonic activity, hinges on the return to the basin of the MJO. so if there is a weak MJO then activity is greatly reduced,i tend to disagree. there are other factors which increases and decreases the potential for cyclonic development.
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1838. icmoore
Some pictures from yesterday's storms in the Bay area by Bay News 9.


Link
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1837. Grothar
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23710
Quoting washingtonian115:
Jupitu

JupiterKen Karma's a &%#^$.Ah ha!.



Be careful that your dogma doesn't get ran over by your karma...
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10-14 days watch out off of Africa.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Can someone post the video out of Key Largo I don't see a low forming.


It's very weak but as you can see something is trying to get going here.

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1833. icmoore
Good morning. After the bad storms the Bay area received yesterday the met said he thinks this afternoon will be very active, too and sees no change for 5 to 7 days.

Link
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Quoting islander101010:
winds.variable.thunderstorms.in.the.area..e.cen.f l.


Orlando International Airport
NE 3

Orlando / Sanford Airport
NE 3

Leesburg International Airport
NE 5

New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport
NE 5
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Can someone post the video out of Key Largo I don't see a low forming.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


Winds have switched to the NE in Orlando.
winds.variable.thunderstorms.in.the.area..e.cen.f l.
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Quoting weaverwxman:
Local Mets in S Fl mentioned the low in the area for today. However I don't think they anticipated how much moisture might be available. I think there is a low in the GOM also which may be the reason for the wind directions in C FL being from the NE.


Yeah weird. I noticed this morning coming into work and then I looked at the weather obs around C FL and many others are showing a NE wind as well. Which is interesting because on radar it does appear that a low is forming south of Key Largo.
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Local Mets in S Fl mentioned the low in the area for today. However I don't think they anticipated how much moisture might be available. I think there is a low in the GOM also which may be the reason for the wind directions in C FL being from the NE.
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1827. ncstorm


East Coast Visible Hurricane Loop
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I was talking about this possibility yesterday.This seems to also be in a high pressure area just like she was.


There is no vorticity at the lower levels either. No invest here.

Link
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Very interesting as winds here across C FL are coming out of the NE this morning when they are supposed to be coming from the SSE. There is for sure something organizing near S FL. Could this be a Claudette from 09?

I was talking about this possibility yesterday.This seems to also be in a high pressure area just like she was.
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Quoting 7544:


Winds have switched to the NE in Orlando.
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Very interesting as winds here across C FL are coming out of the NE this morning when they are supposed to be coming from the SSE. There is for sure something organizing near S FL. Could this be a Claudette from 09?

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Is there a low pressure forming?????
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1821. 7544
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Just becuase a computer model doesn't show any tropical developement over the next 2 weeks doesn't mean it can't happen. There are things sometimes that models don't see very well kinda like the situation near S FL as this area is looking interesting and could be mentioned by the NHC on the next 2. Again this is the time of year to watch everything as sometimes you never know.

Link

agree and good morning all looks like the area just south of south fl could be worth watching today keeps getting more and more convection all moving toward so fl today so keep one eye on this for today to see if any anything xtra can come from this blob
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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.