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 ilovehurricanes13:
invest 98 E IS HERE !! look at the water temp cool off some because of the last two hurricanes!!


Levi and patsaid not really because of this

Deep 26 c isotherm
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


If that was the case then there wouldn't be many comments on Doc's blog as most of this blog is from FL.


constant radar loops of NO?..no thanks..
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Quoting PyrateDiver:
Or just shut down the debate and call people names who oppose your view.

That will work;
Oh, you mean names like "greenies" (753) and "alarmist" (742 & 728)? Got it... ;-)
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Been a subscriber on here on and off since I lived through Katrina.
But think I will leave this blog to the people who have made up their minds up that we are all doomed if we dont stop driving cars.

This idea too will pass.
This planet has survived much worse forces than automobiles folks. For crying out loud, you would think the entire history of this planet is based on data since we evolved enough to measure things
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Here's how short-sighted we are:

- We subsidize large farms in the Midwestern U.S. that are tapping into a limited and steadily draining Ogallala Aquifer as their main water supply. Our usage is completely nonsustainable; and that's even without the threat of polluting it.

- We expand urban centers whose resource needs far outstrip available resource supplies, without really passing along the true costs to the consumers.

- We collectively freak out when the government gambles and loses on ~$500 million investments in green energy technology; on the other hand, no one gives any thought about what the bill is likely to be at the end of this century once we have to (a) construct Amsterdam-style flood protection devices; or (b) abandon and relocate our major deep-water port infrastructure due to sea-level rise. Here's a hint - while we're railing against gov't spending of _m_illions, the cost for either scenario sits in the high _b_illions, if not _tr_illions. Which costs more?
Member Since: June 13, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 304
Yes, lots of mojo and turning in the atmosphere going on right now in the NW gulf, E TX-LA





Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting txjac:


We'd just move the data center, not a bunch of human beings. We suffered greatly when Ike came through and system downtime caused great issues. Arizona would work for us as aside from being hot we wouldnt have to worry about flooding and wing dameage caused by hurricances. Tornadoes would also be less of an issue.
For all of that, even southern NM would work. Anywhere SW of Albuquerque, really, and that would be considerably closer to TX...

But u make my point about accessibility and minimum disruption. The SW also has the advantages of high potential for solar / wind alternative energy, while not being that far from oil sources.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
Quoting PyrateDiver:
Bottom line until there is a reasonable substitute for fossil fuel you will not stop it through laws.


We have very reasonable substitutes for fossil fuels right now.

Wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and biomass/gas can replace coal and most natural gas generation. With improved storage we can even quit natural gas.

Probably half of all drivers would do quite well with a 100 mile EV. The cost of driving with electricity is so low that even if you paid full price for a Nissan Leaf EV that over a 10 year period it would cost you about the same as buying a $20k 30mpg gasmobile.

The other half of all drivers would be well-served with a plugin hybrid. They could do most of their driving with electricity and the longer trips with gas/diesel.

We could cut our oil use to 15% - 20% of what it now is.

We don't need laws against using fossil fuels. We need to recognize the real cost of burning fossil fuels. Coal costs us around $0.20/kWh. When we buy fuel at the gas station the cost of fighting three oil wars is not included.

We need to subsidize renewables and electric vehicles for a few more years. Do that and their prices will be significantly less than fossil fuel technologies. Cheaper than the "meter" prices which don't include all the externalities.

If we assist renewable energy technology to mature a bit more then market forces will take over and get us off fossil fuels.

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Quoting PyrateDiver:


Or breaking from the pack and having a reasonable debate is totally out of the question.

Why are people so dead set against other explanations.
Even as I do accept there are many factors, CO2 being just one of a complex mess of causes?

But instead of discussing that, you find it easier to pack up against folks of an opposing view and make little smug comments like this


Please tell us what other (plausible) explanations are there for us to discuss then.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Yes, lots of mojo and turning in the atmosphere going on right now in the NW gulf, E TX-LA
..its going to be an interesting week here along all the gulf coast area's..huge amounts of rain i bet as the week progresses
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39030
Quoting Patrap:
Maybe someone should open a FLORIDA blog to jaw jack all the Wunderful Weather and er,,,stuff there.


If that was the case then there wouldn't be many comments on Doc's blog as most of this blog is from FL.
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Someone forgot I got 7 inches a week in a half ago...lots of flooding occurred...from extreme to moderate drought we went. Thats wat I mean drought going down
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Yes, lots of mojo and turning in the atmosphere going on right now in the NW gulf, E TX-LA
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting hurricanejunky:


Aren't you used to the misnomers by now? Reasoning with the unreasonable, even when armed with facts, is an exercise in futility but I admire your perseverance!


Or breaking from the pack and having a reasonable debate is totally out of the question.

Why are people so dead set against other explanations.
Even as I do accept there are many factors, CO2 being just one of a complex mess of causes?

But instead of discussing that, you find it easier to pack up against folks of an opposing view and make little smug comments like this
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Quoting weatherh98:
For plans you guys have, you need lots of money. the nation currently has $-15,000,000,000,000


Not my debt, shucks, I'm a Poor writer/Veteran

Dats the RNC's debt Im told.

LOL

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
Quoting Bobbyweather:
I haven't seen a tornado in my life. It doesn't happen that much here. I didn't even go through a tornado while I was in the US, although there were tornado watches.
Also, I haven't been through a hurricane. Although when I was little, I went through Typhoon Maemi (2003), and recently Typhoon Konpasu (2010) which made landfall near Seoul. Konpasu, however, just caused high winds, and little rain.

What's a tornado like? Does it really lift cows and swing them around? (sarcasm?)

Lol, I would imagine it's not too pleasant. Especially in tornadoes stronger than an EF1.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32249
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39030


this is why every single wave that get out of african don't develops strong westerly shear are present in the zone, until that don't change we will not see the cape verde season

things could be changed the upcoming days.
JULY 25TH IS WHEN CAPE VERDE SEASON BEGING, SAYS THE FORECAST.




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Quoting fireflymom:
Oops Pacific NW is subject to Volcanic activity and large Earthquakes, lots of rain too.

Yawn. Different year, same topic... I swear we r obsessed in this blog... lol

I seriously doubt there is any one single area in the US where one could expect to find no serious potential geophysical or climate threat zones... every location has its share of difficulties. And given some of the climate shifts that may be occurring, I'm not even sure we can say "such and such an area is not prone to a particular climate situation" any more. I'd pick a relatively easy access zone with relatively low incidence of wx / geothermal phenomenon and good access to solar / wind power to offset potential loss of access to power grid.

Now to find that locale..
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
I haven't seen a tornado in my life. It doesn't happen that much here. I didn't even go through a tornado while I was in the US, although there were tornado watches.
Also, I haven't been through a hurricane. Although when I was little, I went through Typhoon Maemi (2003), and recently Typhoon Konpasu (2010) which made landfall near Seoul. Konpasu, however, just caused high winds, and little rain.

What's a tornado like? Does it really lift cows and swing them around? (sarcasm?)
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Quoting PyrateDiver:
...while a connection with CO2 is understandable, it is not the only explanation.
Until and unless someone comes up with a competing theory to explain the climate changes we're seeing, and that theory survives the rigorous testing that CO2-based AGW has, I'm afraid it is, indeed, the only explanation. And so far as I know, there is no such alternative theory anywhere in the pipeline...
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those thick clouds are now forming along the gulf coast by me right now, just waiting for that sea breeze to begin to push them inland,air is getting humid again..keep your unbrella's handy Orlando, its building up as a write this
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39030
Quoting Neapolitan:
Lovelock was nowhere near a "major player in early climate change theory". He was, in fact, lambasted by climate scientists for his overly-alarmist projections, and was asked to tone down his rhetoric dozens of times. (And to call him "early" is a bit of a misnomer, since climate change theory has been around for well over a century, whereas Lovelock's heyday was just a few decades ago.)


Aren't you used to the misnomers by now? Reasoning with the unreasonable, even when armed with facts, is an exercise in futility but I admire your perseverance!
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
For plans you guys have, you need lots of money. the nation currently has $-15,000,000,000,000
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Quoting Articuno:

I think it's just natural for us to be scared of sharks.


It is, first time I saw one diving it was scary
that shark did not even give me a glance.

Misunderstood animals
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Quoting Articuno:

i have never seen a funnel or tornado in my life and I hope I never do


it is very cool, sawmy first one yesterday and it was amazing
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


You are correct, for as long as people in positions to make these changes refuse to do so based on anything other than the science. As long as people take the defeatist, escapist and the denial approach towards doing things then, yes, it is not going to happen. As long as we keep electing members of a political party that has anti-AGW messaging as a part of their political platform, it is not going to happen. As long as posts are made that say it is not going to happen, and believed by too many people, it is not going to happen. .... Reality has a way of making things happen that most would have believed impossible before. Once the reality of the situation is more commonly known by those with the power to make the changes then changes will be made. Every day of delay in doing this becomes more costly, on every level, than had the serious efforts been made before now. .... Risk your fortune, in an attempt to save a dime. The logic behind this does not become clear to me. Unless one is hoping to die before the costs become too extreme?


Sadly, it is elected officials, from farm-belt states, such as Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) who are leading the effort to deny science and block every effort to mitigate Climate Change.
It is the farmers and ranchers who are their constituents and are at most risk from extreme drought, extreme heat and devastating storms. One might think that they don't care about the lives and liveliehoods of their constituents......they just care about the $$$ from the well-funded anti-science crowd.
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Quoting BobWallace:


I have only a passing knowledge of this stuff, but "data center" sounds like a lot of servers to me.

Electricity prices can get really high for centers with a lot of processing happening. Washington's electricity prices are almost 3 cents per kWh lower. Plus a lot less cooling would be needed. Oregon is about 1.5 cents lower than AZ.

No hurricanes or tornadoes in either place. Flooding is only a problem if you locate in a flood plane. These days one certainly wants to stay above the 500 year flood level. Five hundred years comes more often these days....


Speaking of electricity, do you know that electric providers in TX charge $4.99 if you don't use a certain wattage amount of electricity. They tell you to save power, go green, then slap a charge for not using a certain amount. That's the kind of stuff that will make people say the hell with going green, use the hell outta the power.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting RitaEvac:


Why

i have never seen a funnel or tornado in my life and I hope I never do
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Quoting TxWxHHPF:


We could so use some more rain up here in Dallas!

you'll won't get left out...good chance of rain for u guys in n tx.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
Quoting BahaHurican:
Sharks down here are generally not that much on biting pple, either. It may be because of the water, mind you. They actually have "swimming with the sharks" activities over here... in very controlled conditions, of course. But I've gotten the impression from much of what I've read and heard said by local experts that most sharks don't even particularly like the taste of pple... and prefer fish any day. [don't ask me how they tested this preference... lol]


I think it's just natural for us to be scared of sharks.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


Not really unless you guys are going to get feet of rain like FL did to get rid of their drought. It is going to take in some cases of 20" of rain to recover after last years severe drought. Now if El-Nino does indeed get strong this winter then no doubt by then the Drought will end in TX pretty much statewide.


remember that texas gets much less rain than our 60-70 inches, they get 20-30 on average as a state and so a 3 inch rain amount can make a bigger dent
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Quoting Articuno:

I'd drop dead if I saw that...


Why
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

List of things TropicalAnalystwx13 hates:

- Sharks
- Alligators
- Snakes

I've never actually seen either of those in real life, and I don't want to. I wish the beaches down here had crystal clear water like the Bahamas so that you can see underneath you when you get in the ocean.


You forgot spiders the size of your hand in that category.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

List of things TropicalAnalystwx13 hates:

- Sharks
- Alligators
- Snakes

I've never actually seen either of those in real life, and I don't want to. I wish the beaches down here had crystal clear water like the Bahamas so that you can see underneath you when you get in the ocean.
Sharks down here are generally not that much on biting pple, either. It may be because of the water, mind you. They actually have "swimming with the sharks" activities over here... in very controlled conditions, of course. But I've gotten the impression from much of what I've read and heard said by local experts that most sharks don't even particularly like the taste of pple... and prefer fish any day. [don't ask me how they tested this preference... lol]

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22305
Maybe someone should open a FLORIDA blog to jaw jack all the Wunderful Weather and er,,,stuff there.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
Quoting txjac:


We'd just move the data center, not a bunch of human beings. We suffered greatly when Ike came through and system downtime caused great issues. Arizona would work for us as aside from being hot we wouldnt have to worry about flooding and wing dameage caused by hurricances. Tornadoes would also be less of an issue.


I have only a passing knowledge of this stuff, but "data center" sounds like a lot of servers to me.

Electricity prices can get really high for centers with a lot of processing happening. Washington's electricity prices are almost 3 cents per kWh lower. Plus a lot less cooling would be needed. Oregon is about 1.5 cents lower than AZ.

No hurricanes or tornadoes in either place. Flooding is only a problem if you locate in a flood plane. These days one certainly wants to stay above the 500 year flood level. Five hundred years comes more often these days....
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Quoting schistkicker:



Paraphrased:
"I refuse to believe there's a problem until someone finds a solution (to the problem I don't believe exists) that won't cause me any inconvenience, financially or otherwise."

Remind me, again, what the data says? That's what convinces the scientists, not the ad hominems and strawman arguments.


Or just shut down the debate and call people names who oppose your view.

That will work;
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..itsa MoJo Risin'
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
Quoting STXHurricanes2012:
Tx drought is going down too in a few days of this rain :P


Not really unless you guys are going to get feet of rain like FL did to get rid of their drought. It is going to take in some cases of 20" of rain to recover after last years severe drought. Now if El-Nino does indeed get strong this winter then no doubt by then the Drought will end in TX pretty much statewide.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39030
Quoting RitaEvac:
Hempstead, TX yesterday evening



I'd drop dead if I saw that...
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Quoting STXHurricanes2012:
Tx drought is going down too in a few days of this rain :P


We could so use some more rain up here in Dallas!
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Quoting BahaHurican:
LOL... "ernesto" has been popping up far too often this a.m..... lol

But SERIOUSLY...

Surprisingly the mosquitos here haven't been as bad as I expected, given how rainy it was all May and part of June... we are into our "dry" part of the summer now, since we usually don't get much significant rainfall in the first part of July. I'm still expecting to see some action later in July, but whether that actually happens is going to depend a LOT on what happens with this monster high in the ATL... if that moderates over the next 10 days we may see some action. If not, it may be the beginning of August before the tropical ATL begins to heat up.


I hear you...one of my posts became part of the Ernesto flood of duplicates...LOL

Interesting analysis of the tropics for July. It's always interesting "trying to reason with hurricane season"
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899
Quoting divingpyrate:
Funny how Bob shows up, just post the words Obama or Climate change and boom he magically appears

The planet is warming, and for all the hot wind blowing, it has not conclusively been totally blamed on Co2

Like most of the tactics used, keep calling it something until everyone believes.

Even the God Father of Global Warning just stated people are using it as an alarmist tool to get rid of the things they dont like.

Here is the easy way out for those folks. Find a fuel to replace fossil fuels. We will all jump on then. But regulating that position into being, aint going to work




Paraphrased:
"I refuse to believe there's a problem until someone finds a solution (to the problem I don't believe exists) that won't cause me any inconvenience, financially or otherwise."

Remind me, again, what the data says? That's what convinces the scientists, not the ad hominems and strawman arguments.
Member Since: June 13, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 304
getting our daily inch of rain in early, already at .91 and still raining
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Quoting CapeFearRising:


He previously painted some of the direst visions of the effects of climate change. In 2006, in an article in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, he wrote that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”

Clearly that was alarmist. He still says global warming is happening, just not at the apocalyptic rate he was envisioning.


Just posting the article as it was on MSNBC one of the left most news channels out there.

No one in their right mind would say the planet is not warming. But to many are using it to legislate their interest. The truth is not totally known, and while a connection with CO2 is understandable, it is not the only explanation.

If anyone tries to explore or discuss other reasons they are insulted and put down, like Napolean did.

Where is the wisdom there.
Bottom line until there is a reasonable substitute for fossil fuel you will not stop it through laws.
Innovation and true science can when they find an alternative.
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Quoting STXHurricanes2012:
Tx drought is going down too in a few days of this rain :P
..thats good news for you folks
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39030

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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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