Record Cold in a Warming World

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on March 04, 2014

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An impressive blast of Arctic air has toppled more records for all-time March cold over the Eastern U.S., in the wake of the major snowstorm that brought 4 - 8" of snow from Missouri to Maryland. Fresh snow is very efficient at radiating heat to space, and the 3.8" of snow that fell in Baltimore on Monday helped drive the temperature down to 5°F on Monday night, tying the city's all-time March low temperature record set on March 4, 1873. The temperature eventually dipped down to 4°F Tuesday morning, breaking the March record. Atlantic City, NJ, which got 5.5" of snow on Monday, also set a new all-time cold record for the month of March on Monday night, when the temperature fell to 2°F. The previous all-time low for the month of March was 3°F set on March 4, 2009. Official records for the Atlantic City area date back to 1874.

At least five other cities have set or tied all-time March cold temperature records during the current cold wave:

Charlottesville, Virginia set an all-time March low of 1°F Tuesday morning (previous record: 7°F on March 4, 1943.)

Billings, Montana set an all-time March low of -21° on March 2, 2014 (previous record: -19°.)

Pierre, South Dakota set an all-time March low on both March 1 and March 2, dipping to -20° (previous record: -19°F on March 11, 1998.)

Flint, Michigan set an all-time March low of -16° on March 3 (previous record: -12°.)

Rockford, Illinois tied its all-time March record low of -11° on March 3.

At least five U.S. cities have set records for their coldest winter on record, as detailed by wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt in his latest blog post. He has not yet compiled a list of cities that have set a record for their warmest winter on record during 2013 - 2014, but I know of at least two: Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tucson, Arizona.


Figure 1. Departure of surface temperature from average as diagnosed by the GFS model at 00 UTC March 4, 2014. A negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) allowed cold air to spill southwards out of the Arctic over the Eastern U.S., bringing temperatures up to 36°F (20°C) below average. Compensating warm air flowed northwards into the Arctic underneath a ridge of high pressure over Europe. Data/image obtained using Climate Reanalyzer™ (http://cci-reanalyzer.org), Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

How can a planet that is warming experience record cold?
This week's impressive cold blast brings up the question: How can a planet undergoing "global warming" experience record cold? Well, it's a big planet, and the weather has naturally crazy extremes. We expect to see many locations experience all-time daily and monthly cold records each month. It's just that the number of these cold records will be outnumbered by all-time heat records, when averaged over the globe, and over decades. It is called Global Warming for good reason! A 2009 study led by Dr. Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO found that in the U.S., the ratio of the number of record daily highs to lows was near 1:1 in the 1960s and 1970s, but had increased to more than 2:1 during the decade of the 2000s, due to our warming climate. The ratio for the 2010’s was approximately 2.4-to-1 for daily records, for the four years 2010 - 2013, as explained in detail at Guy Walton's wunderblog. If "business as usual" emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide continue this century, this ratio of record highs to record lows is expected to increase to 20:1 by the year 2050, and 50:1 by 2100. So, even on planet experiencing extreme global warming, we will still see a few record low temperatures in the 22nd Century.


Figure 2. Ratio of record daily highs to record daily lows observed at about 1,800 weather stations in the 48 contiguous United States from January 1950 through September 2009. Each bar shows the proportion of record highs (red) to record lows (blue) for each decade. The 1960s and 1970s saw slightly more record daily lows than highs, but in the last 30 years record highs have increasingly predominated, with the ratio now about two-to-one for the 48 states as a whole. ©UCAR, graphic by Mike Shibao; data from a 2009 study led by Dr. Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO.

Two Years Ago: Summer in March
When we do break all-time heat records in the current warming climate, we should expect that some of these new records will crush the old records in phenomenal ways. That was the case during the astonishing U.S. record-breaking "Summer in March" heat wave just two years ago, in 2012. It was the warmest March on record for the contiguous U.S., 8.6°F 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. record began in 1895, only one month, January 2006, had a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012. Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March, and 25 states east of the Rockies had their warmest March on record. An additional 15 states had monthly temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. All-time March records were broken at 290 stations, with some stations breaking their all-time March record four times. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date. Four stations broke daily records by 30°F or more.


Figure 3. "This is the kind of sunset that you can expect to see in July, not in March. 77°F when I took this," said the caption on this wunderphoto taken on March 17, 2012 in Windom, Minnesota by wunderphotographer sally.

Jeff Masters

Apostle Islands Ice (walcek)
You drive on 3-ft. minimum thick ice for a couple miles out to these islands on frozen Lake Superior. (Saves on kayaking workout)
Apostle Islands Ice
Frozen Silence (RevMac)
No one else was out walking a very popular Nashville park on a frozen ice and snow storm day in early March.
Frozen Silence

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What was your High temp Keeper? Made it to 68.6F here, forecast was 70F...
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14 years of abnormal temps in northern hemisphere

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 428. Doppler22:

Check this out, comment what you think please. Link
Looks like the South Atlantic Hurricane Season could be from November 1st- April 30th.
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Here the pollen started to come out and the flowers started to come up and the cherry trees started to bloom...but now it's been on hiatus...

It looks like spring will resume shortly next week, with 50s to 70s.
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Quoting 408. pablosyn:
SURPRISE GUYS...2 subtropical cyclones here in our ocean...this is the first time since 2004 that more then 1 tropical/subtropical forms in South Atlantic!!!

Link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_tropi cal_cyclone#Subtropical_Depression_of_February_201 4

Check this out, comment what you think please. Link
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Quoting 413. hurricanes2018:
the next storm to watch


At least this one will generate some waves. The last few have just brought snow and bitter cold. If I have to endure another storm in this never-ending winter, then at least I'll get some waves out of it.
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Quoting 381. washingtonian115:
Haha!.My flowers look like brown dry stubs in the yard.They're very frail and past life support..


First time in many years my pansies were wiped out. I'll plant more next week. I'll see if other people's cannas and other marginal plants come back. Cannas Gladiolas and Dahlias are supposed to be dug here and overwintered in a cool place but in fact they usually survive in the ground. Maybe not this year though
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425. jpsb
Quoting 418. sar2401:

Dang, you're smart for a kid. :-)
Maybe you could tell me what he said, and how it relates to my contention that you can not assume "all forcings being equal" in the real world of climate.
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Quoting 392. Naga5000:


Steven Goddard, really? Link

I have a very serious question for you. Why in the world would you believe an anonymous blogger on the internet who isn't taken seriously by anyone in the actual field of climate science over the published work of scientists? That seems sort of strange to me.

WUWT and Steven Goddard are not science, they are conspiracy theory and pseudo science masquerading as legitimate sources of information. You have been fooled.


Should I believe Bill Nye instead? He spins this stuff so he can stay on Al Gore's payroll.
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The forcing's effects will change a lot of the denial-sphere in 2014 or as I call it, the "too lazy to read the Science" crowd.

This the newly made, highly changed atmosphere that has 10 % more Water Vapor and a lot more potential energy per square meter of it Globally.

Its not the Biosphere I was born into only 50 some odd years ago.

Its has had 90ppm of CO2 added since then.

The Forcing's are Hydra headed in the Weather sense.







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Quoting 420. Patrap:

Well that's the whole problem in a Nutshell, us Human's keepin on like all is well.

Yep, hell of a plan in the long run.


that's not what iam sayin pat

it don't matter what we do to change things
things are going to change now no matter what

only thing we can do is stop how long the changes will occur
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 419. Patrap:
Don't know what trauma affected dat Guy in Alabama, but he sure trie's to project his pain on the whole a lot.



maybe scared pat
scared of the unknown
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141

Well that's the whole problem in a Nutshell, us Human's keepin on like all is well.

Yep, hell of a plan in the long run.
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Don't know what trauma affected dat Guy in Alabama, but he sure trie's to project his pain on the whole a lot.

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



Besides the misinterpretation of the law, the earth isn't a closed system and energy can be added or taken away from it. So even conservation of energy does not apply to the system of earth since energy is constantly added and radiated.

Dang, you're smart for a kid. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17452
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


we don't have to work anything out
that's going to be done for us
all we have to do
is move along with the changes

True, but it's going to be a looonnnggg blog before we all move along. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17452
Quoting 236. jpsb:



What folks here (mostly) argue is CAGW, not AGW. Using the terms "climate change" or AGW is a bait and switch. No serious person denies that the Earth has warmed slightly recently. Also no one denies CO2 is part of the reason temps have risen slightly. What folks like me have a problem with is the catastrophic in CAGW. We also note how poorly the "climate models" have modeled the climate. Also 5 on the list was "Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere thus raises the global temperature, all other forcings being equal"
Well in the real world all other forcings are NEVER equal. Newton's law "for every action there is a reaction".



Besides the misinterpretation of the law, the earth isn't a closed system and energy can be added or taken away from it. So even conservation of energy does not apply to the system of earth since energy is constantly added and radiated.
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Quoting pablosyn:
SURPRISE GUYS...2 subtropical cyclones here in our ocean...this is the first time since 2004 that more then 1 tropical/subtropical forms in South Atlantic!!!

Link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_tropi cal_cyclone#Subtropical_Depression_of_February_201 4

I'm not sure it counts as two, Pablo. One was in admittedly late 2013, but 2013 nonetheless, and the other was last month in 2014, so it's still one each year, unless another one has formed this year I haven't heard about. If you want to count them as two, I'm sure no one here will object though. It certainly is the first time that two have formed in two months.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17452
Quoting 412. sar2401:
Howdy, gang, I'm back. Did ya'll get the whole global warming thing worked out while I was gone? What? Sort of...not really...well, no...shucks. :-)


we don't have to work anything out
that's going to be done for us
all we have to do
is move along with the changes
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
the next storm to watch
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Howdy, gang, I'm back. Did ya'll get the whole global warming thing worked out while I was gone? What? Sort of...not really...well, no...shucks. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17452
Quoting 379. opal92nwf:
I'm ready for May-June. The winter depression will be eliminated by then. It's pervasive even here in Florida.



opal. A lot of people mistakenly think you have to cut them back, but the trick is to leave them alone. You would be surprised how many come back on their own. That has happened a number of times here, and we have lost some, but the old Floridians always told us to just leave them alone.

Look at me. I've come back at least 3 times and I looked worse than your plants.
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nice looking hurricaNE
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Unusually cold spring in Europe and the Southeast U.S. due to the Arctic Oscillation
By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 9:52 AM CDT on April 25, 2013


How, then, did such cold extremes occur in a month that was in the top 8% of warmest Marches in Earth's recorded history? The answer lies in the behavior of the jet stream. This band of strong high-altitude winds marks the boundary between cold, polar air and warm, subtropical air. The jet stream, on average, blows west to east. But there are always large ripples in the jet, called planetary waves (or Rossby waves.) In the Northern Hemisphere, cold air from the polar regions spills southward into the U-shaped troughs of these ripples, and warm air is drawn northwards into the upside-down U-shaped ridges.

If these ripples attain unusually high amplitude, a large amount of cold polar air will spill southwards into the mid-latitudes, causing unusual cold extremes. This was the case in Europe and the Eastern U.S. in March 2013. These cold extremes were offset by unusually warm conditions where the jet stream bulged northwards--over the Atlantic, the Western U.S., and in China during March 2013. In fact, the amplitude of the ripples in the jet stream reached their most extreme value ever recorded in any March during 2013, as measured by an index called the Arctic Oscillation (AO).
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SURPRISE GUYS...2 subtropical cyclones here in our ocean...this is the first time since 2004 that more then 1 tropical/subtropical forms in South Atlantic!!!

Link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_tropi cal_cyclone#Subtropical_Depression_of_February_201 4
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If the Arctic has lost 70 % ice volume in 30 years,this has to be a huge factor in our messed up Jet Stream,never to be fixed..
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Imagine dat?
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405. yoboi
Quoting 404. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



everything changes
nothing will stay the same


I provided both links on Dr. Roods blog.....It shows that Goddard took Dr. Masters interview out of context.....and that is not cool what Goddard did.....
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Quoting 402. yoboi:


Yes keep...



everything changes
nothing will stay the same
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Hi everyone, just a little shameless plug, but I rolled out a new weather blog with plenty of pictures that my mother took after the winter storm rolled by.

For those of you who haven't already...please stop by and take a visit!

New blog here.
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402. yoboi
Quoting 401. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
hey yobi guess what


Yes keep...
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Quoting 395. yoboi:



I will say after reading the original article.....Goddard did take things out of context....
hey yobi guess what
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
400. etxwx
Here's the link to the interview with Dr. Masters by the Voice of Russia on March 4, 2014:
US record cold: if people disturb climate, crazy weather events occur - meteorologist
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Quoting 396. Astrometeor:


I did. Whole bunch of lies and misinformation.

I wasted three minutes of my life reading that opinion piece.


I made the mistake of reading some of the comments. It's amazing how easily those folks are led down the path. I doubt a single one of them read Dr. Master's article today, they all thought the picture Goddard made was Dr. Master's.
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Sigh..
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30 day SOI continues to crash. See where it is at my ENSO blog.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14908
Quoting 393. yoboi:



Did you read the article????


I did. Whole bunch of lies and misinformation.

I wasted three minutes of my life reading that opinion piece.
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395. yoboi
Quoting 394. Patrap:
Nope.

Don't read gibberish nor the comic's anymo' since Peanut's stopped.









I will say after reading the original article.....Goddard did take things out of context....
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Nope.

Don't read gibberish nor the comic's anymo' since Peanut's stopped.






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393. yoboi
Quoting 392. Naga5000:


Steven Goddard, really? Link

I have a very serious question for you. Why in the world would you believe an anonymous blogger on the internet who isn't taken seriously by anyone in the actual field of climate science over the published work of scientists? That seems sort of strange to me.

WUWT and Steven Goddard are not science, they are conspiracy theory and pseudo science masquerading as legitimate sources of information. You have been fooled.



Did you read the article????
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Quoting 375. Chucktown:
Dr. Masters is the topic of this Real Science article from today. Interesting data.

Link


Steven Goddard, really? Link

I have a very serious question for you. Why in the world would you believe an anonymous blogger on the internet who isn't taken seriously by anyone in the actual field of climate science over the published work of scientists? That seems sort of strange to me.

WUWT and Steven Goddard are not science, they are conspiracy theory and pseudo science masquerading as legitimate sources of information. You have been fooled.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3969
Quoting 351. Grothar:
No, I am not in this picture.




:( You just had to shoot us down. No fun. I was about to comment on you.
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Quoting 389. ZacWeatherKidUK:
Faxai is now a Category 1 Typhoon.

Currently at 75 knots.
being sheared ne
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Faxai is now a Category 1 Typhoon.

Currently at 75 knots.
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Quoting 380. Climate175:
Are some of them completely dead ? All, None. ???


looks completely dead to me except the stuff hugging the dirt
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 379. opal92nwf:
I'm ready for May-June. The winter depression will be eliminated by then. It's pervasive even here in Florida.




They'll come back, when I was still going to school in the Tampa Bay area during the 2010-2011 winter, a lot of plants died to a degree that appeared like they would never come back, but they did by the summer.

Believe me, the plants down there are even more sensitive, and we had many nights below freezing that winter, it was the 4th coldest winter in Tampa Bay history. Even the coastal areas of the Bay didn't escape many nights below freezing and into the 20's, and many deep tropical plants that never see freezing temps that close to the coast died from multiple hard freezes even near the coast.


However, as I mentioned, most plants completely came back during the summer after many months of humid jungle weather with hot nights and months of heavy rain. They looked just as bad as yours do in that picture too, so don't count them out yet.
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Also the weeds in those sidewalk cracks are gonna start growing back soon once Spring has arrived. The Dandelions also grow back in a huge patch. All my trees are still bear but the buds are showing and they are patiently waiting.
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Quoting 374. washingtonian115:
It feels like early January outside and not early March.Only difference is that the sun is going down later and is higher in the sky.
its finally crossed the northern end of the building to my west now first time was today I see sunset

stronger now each day from here
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
384. etxwx
Quoting 378. AtHomeInTX:


Hey etex. Thanks for the hope. lol. I'm just grumpy. :)


Glad you missed the ice, I know what you mean about grumpy - I just had to bake cupcakes today. Must. Have. Chocolate...
:)
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Quoting 380. Climate175:
Are some of them completely dead ? All, None. ???

Some plants in there come back by the root, although the tropicals (grown as annuals in N. FL) have died.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron