Record Cold in a Warming World

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

Share this Blog
59
+

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

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: 333 - 283

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

Quoting 306. jrweatherman:


No, I think it's over me here in Clearwater:)

48 hours out and the models are getting pretty aggressive. A real good soaker of 3-6" would be great as we get close to the dry season.


Were are you located?
Dry season starts in October down here in Fort Myers.
Member Since: September 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8140
332. jpsb
Quoting 262. ColoradoBob1:


I don't know what curve fitting algorithm you used to plot temperature, but that curve in no way fits the data.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 327. ColoradoBob1:


I got that beat, Sat. it was 85F degrees here, yesterday morning it was 9F degrees.


As a system nears a tipping point it moves to the extremes.

Tipping Points: What Wall Street and Nature Have in Common

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
329. yoboi
Quoting 324. ScottLincoln:

You are misrepresenting what Newton's 3rd law of motion means. It doesn't in any way mean that if there is a climate forcing in the warming direction that somehow all of the other forcings will magically just change to the cooling direction to balance out. That's Grade A balogna/baloney/boloney/poloney (depending on who's correcting me).



"that somehow all of the other forcings will magically just change" Is that Gore's 1st law to confuse the masses???????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 327. ColoradoBob1:


I got that beat, Sat. it was 85F degrees here, yesterday morning it was 9F degrees.


Yesterday it was 82 here. Will be chilly and rainy the next couple days with temps in 40s/50s.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 307. DonnieBwkGA:
A chilly raw day. 63/43 but the 63 was at midnight and has been in the 40s all day. Low of 43 was this afternoon. Could drop a little below that this evening. Stiff NE wind.


I got that beat, Sat. it was 85F degrees here, yesterday morning it was 9F degrees.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1.First law: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.[2][3]
2.Second law: The vector sum of the forces on an object is equal to the total mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration of the object. In more technical terms, the acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass. Thus, F = ma, where F is the net force acting on the object, m is the mass of the object and a is the acceleration of the object. Force and acceleration are both vectors (as denoted by the bold type). This means that they have both a magnitude (size) and a direction relative to some reference frame.
3.Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting 324. ScottLincoln:

You are misrepresenting what Newton's 3rd law of motion means. It doesn't in any way mean that if there is a climate forcing in the warming direction that somehow all of the other forcings will magically just change to the cooling direction to balance out. That's Grade A balogna/baloney/boloney/poloney (depending on who's correcting me).
with mustard and fried
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting 236. jpsb:
Well in the real world all other forcings are NEVER equal. Newton's law "for every action there is a reaction".

You are misrepresenting what Newton's 3rd law of motion means. It doesn't in any way mean that if there is a climate forcing in the warming direction that somehow all of the other forcings will magically just change to the cooling direction to balance out. That's Grade A balogna/baloney/boloney/poloney (depending on who's correcting me).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
nam hires 18z hr 60

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 57

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 54

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 51

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 45
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 36

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 27

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 18

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 9

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
nam hires 18z hr 3

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
More crazy -
Snowfall 3 times average levels in Kanto, Koshin

The eastern areas of the nation experienced severe winter weather for the third successive year. In addition, there were a number of low pressure systems off the southern coast of Honshu in February. The systems caused massive snowfalls on the Pacific side of the archipelago on Feb. 7 to 8 and Feb. 14 to 16. Snowfall records were broken at 19 of 330 measuring points across the nation. Kofu recorded 114 centimeters, Maebashi recorded 73 centimeters and Chiba marked 33 centimeters.

Meanwhile, snowfall totals fell below average in many places on the Sea of Japan coast because the severe cold in the upper atmosphere shifted south temporarily. In the Hokuriku region, snowfall was the second least on record, reaching only 34 percent of average annual totals.
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting 183. CarlitosAtun:


Bologna or boloney, get a better dictionary

Quoting 234. luvtogolf:


Hard to put so much trust in someone who can't spell.

Oh man, you guys sure got me!
It disproves everything I said!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When was the last time Mardi Gras in New Orleans had temps in the 30s in the afternoon?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16010
A chilly raw day. 63/43 but the 63 was at midnight and has been in the 40s all day. Low of 43 was this afternoon. Could drop a little below that this evening. Stiff NE wind.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 282. LargoFl:
man this gulf low is going to come in right over me....


No, I think it's over me here in Clearwater:)

48 hours out and the models are getting pretty aggressive. A real good soaker of 3-6" would be great as we get close to the dry season.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1033
Things finally settle down in here? Back to holding pinkies up and not spilling the tea while we tell each other how wrong we are?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I don't even know if I will have school tomorrow down here in Nashville, TN.

Been out of school for 2 days now with this storm...and today was out last allotted snow day. We had 6, down to 0 now. Anything more will have to be made up, probably from spring break or extra holidays.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sigh... high was supposed to be 43F... only made it to 30F :( Ice remains for another 24 hours...
Member Since: May 21, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 566
Quoting 298. georgevandenberghe:

In 36 years of frost/icebusting on windshields I've used water to melt it off and never cracked one. But it is a risk esp with hot water on a cold windshield. I use room temperature or even colder water for frost. As long as there is an ice cover, I'll use warm to hot water to melt most of it off but once I get to bare glass it's cold water only.
just pour a 1/2 a jug of windshield washer fluid over it wait ten minutes with car heat running and wipe it off with the wipers
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
Quoting 297. PedleyCA:


That is not a hole, that is a huge crater. (50mi)


well if ya take everything out from underground below it would make sense everything above falls into the empty space no

unless ya fill it up with a bunch of crap to fill which likely not much better


its what ya get I guess

unforeseen circumstances
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
New from RealClimate

It never rains but it pause

There has been a veritable deluge of new papers this month related to recent trends in surface temperature. There are analyses of the CMIP5 ensemble, new model runs, analyses of complementary observational data, attempts at reconciliation all the way to commentaries on how the topic has been covered in the media and on twitter. We will attempt to bring the highlights together here. As background, it is worth reading our previous discussions, along with pieces by Simon Donner and Tamino to help put in context what is being discussed here.


The papers and commentaries address multiple aspects of recent trends: the climate drivers over recent decades, the internal variability of the system, new analyses and model-observation comparisons – much as we suggested would be the case in any discussions of model-observations mismatches last year. We will take each in turn:

See more ...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


They finally got off their duff and updated this page.

63.9 here as of now, may not be making this number, But the Sun is out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 288. GeorgiaStormz:
Not much happened here except the only place the drizzle froze was on my windshield.. I had at least .1" or more of ice on my windshield this morning...took a bit of hot water to melt.

In 36 years of frost/icebusting on windshields I've used water to melt it off and never cracked one. But it is a risk esp with hot water on a cold windshield. I use room temperature or even colder water for frost. As long as there is an ice cover, I'll use warm to hot water to melt most of it off but once I get to bare glass it's cold water only.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 293. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well lets hope its not to turn into a hole lets say 400 Furlongs by 400 Furlongs


That is not a hole, that is a huge crater. (50mi)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 295. Astrometeor:
On March 4, 1917...

Nashville receives 7½" of snow.


March 29, 1942. The DC area snow lovers were disappointed by a winter with 1.5" of snow total to date. On March 29, they got
another foot.

I remember freezing rain and ice pellets as late as April 7-8 in 1971 or 1972 (??)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
On March 4, 1917...

Nashville receives 7½" of snow.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
291 daddyjames

Actually, I think we have been averaging 2-3 per day lately. Have not felt any of these, unlike the one that rocked us a little over a year ago(?).

Been surprised, because some of them have been quite close to me.

From USGS

Today

M 2.6 - 13km NW of Chandler, Oklahoma

Time
2014-03-04 08:39:38 UTC-08:00
Location
35.803°N 96.966°W
Depth
5.0km

How close are you to this one?

Yesterday

M 2.6 - 3km NE of Fontana, California

Time
2014-03-03 22:48:00 UTC-08:00
Location
34.115°N 117.412°W
Depth
3.5km

This one is just over the hill from me, max 7 miles.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 291. daddyjames:


Actually, I think we have been averaging 2-3 per day lately. Have not felt any of these, unlike the one that rocked us a little over a year ago(?).

Been surprised, because some of them have been quite close to me.
well lets hope its not to turn into a hole lets say 400 Furlongs by 400 Furlongs
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54827
NOAA’s Newest Weather Model Provides Clearer, Faster Forecast of Severe Weather

Excerpt:

Later this year, NOAA’s National Weather Service will usher into daily operations a sophisticated model called the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh, or HRRR, that will update forecasts hourly over the entire lower 48 United States at extremely sharp resolution using the latest observations from a network of ground and satellite-based sensors, radars and aircraft.

The HRRR provides forecast information at a resolution four times finer than what is currently used in hourly updated NOAA models. This improvement in resolution from 13 to three kilometers is like giving forecasters an aerial photograph in which each pixel represents a neighborhood instead of a city.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 278. LargoFl:
seems like an earthquake every day in Oklahoma huh..............WWW.GLOBALINCIDENTMAP.COM

Type: EarthQuake
2 hours ago
Magnitude: 2.6
DateTime: 2014-03-04 10:39:38
Region: Oklahoma
Depth: 5
Source: CSEM-EMSC Feed


Actually, I think we have been averaging 2-3 per day lately. Have not felt any of these, unlike the one that rocked us a little over a year ago(?).

Been surprised, because some of them have been quite close to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 256. Barefootontherocks:
Signing up on Feb 29 is a sure sign of DOOM.
;) Speaking from another part of Oklahoma, there's no such thing as a false alarm. If NWS sees rotation on radar they warn, and the tornado warning will say "a thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado." Does not need to be a funnel cloud or tornado spotted for a tor warning to be issued. NWS makes the warning polygon (area warned) as specific as possible according to how the cell is behaving or might behave. Gotta pay attention also even if your warning is "just" for a severe thunderstorm as a severe thunderstorm can "produce a tornado without warning," and the warning states so. This year Norman NWS (NWS office that covers both daddyjames' Stillwater and where I live in central OK) is switching to some new warning lingo that may make the actual situation more clear. We'll see.

If you mean how many warned clouds passing nearby actually make a tornado, meaning a twisting funnel on the ground, I'd have to look to be sure. Nationwide, maybe 30%. One cloud can make several tornadoes if it touches down time after time from a long tracker cell. These cells receive new warnings as they move from county to county. Possible each warned area does not get a tornado.

Well, that's kind of long-winded way of saying no matter how many warned clouds do not produce a twister, best pay attention anyway.


I could not agree with you more. Better to play it safe, heed the warnings, and breathe that sigh of relief if nothing should impact you. We do everytime.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 286. LargoFl:

It seems as if the subtropical jet is enhancing the polar jet. Maybe this will breakdown the mid-upper ridge over the central Caribbean.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Not much happened here except the only place the drizzle froze was on my windshield.. I had at least .1" or more of ice on my windshield this morning...took a bit of hot water to melt.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 284. LargoFl:
Frozen for me.:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The SOI is tanking rapidly.

Latest Southern Oscillation Index values


SOI values for 04 Mar 2014

Average for last 30 days -4.0
Average for last 90 days 2.9
Daily contribution to SOI calculation -16.8


Still some time before the thermocline gets somewhat zonal though, but pressure is decreasing over central/eastern Pacific...this may allow a westward progression of the warmer waters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:




New data confirms Arctic ice trends: Ice-free season getting longer by five days per decade
Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:

University College London

Summary:
The ice-free season across the Arctic is getting longer by five days per decade, according to new research from a team including Prof Julienne Stroeve (UCL Earth Sciences). New analysis of satellite data shows the Arctic Ocean absorbing ever more of the sun's energy in summer, leading to a later appearance of sea ice in the autumn. In some regions, autumn freeze-up is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it used to.

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 333 - 283

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

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Overcast
45 °F
Overcast