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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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
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man this gulf low is going to come in right over me....
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WOW now this has changed today..Now 5-7 Inches of rain..going to be flooding problems for sure if this verifies..
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Quoting 277. jrweatherman:


We need the rain to bring the pollen down from the Oak Trees. It's bad out there right now.
oh man my driveway is all yellow with that pollen...cough cough
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Quoting 274. LargoFl:
looks real stormy for central florida thursday huh keeper
we will see how the 18z and 00z hires runs pan out but yeah looks like a little weather coming
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
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
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Quoting 275. LargoFl:
well with one nws warning about the possibility of Large Hail thursday..not a good idea to take the car outdoors huh..man that hail sure can damage the car


We need the rain to bring the pollen down from the Oak Trees. It's bad out there right now.
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Quoting 264. nigel20:
Thanks Dr Masters! Good afternoon guys! Mid-upper ridge is across the central Caribbean, this will likely limit/prevent deep convection.

A bit of lower level moisture is moving across Jamaica, it is being transported by the trades. A few isolated showers over western Jamaica.


Here are a few pics (clouds), you can see that they are mostly fair weather cumulus clouds.


Drool :(
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well with one nws warning about the possibility of Large Hail thursday..not a good idea to take the car outdoors huh..man that hail sure can damage the car
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Quoting 272. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
looks real stormy for central florida thursday huh keeper
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final
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting 261. jrweatherman:


Not a lot of clarity as to how strong this low is going to be. As we get into March and April our chances of strong to severe storms goes up.


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting 257. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
yuk got to be mustard


Hold the mayo, a bit heavy on the mustard please.
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Thanks Dr Masters! Good afternoon guys! Mid-upper ridge is across the central Caribbean, this will likely limit/prevent deep convection.

A bit of lower level moisture is moving across Jamaica, it is being transported by the trades. A few isolated showers over western Jamaica.


Here are a few pics (clouds), you can see that they are mostly fair weather cumulus clouds.


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Quoting 257. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
yuk got to be mustard


My thoughts exactly as far as the condiment. Probably wouldn't eat fried baloney.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5672
Quoting 242. jpsb:


A Danish group that has reproduced the Earth's atmosphere in the laboratory has shown how clouds might be seeded by incoming cosmic rays. The team believes that the research provides evidence that fluctuations in the cosmic-ray flux caused by changes in solar activity could play a role in climate change.



Physicists claim further evidence of link between cosmic rays and cloud formation



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Quoting 254. LargoFl:
yes they were saying the models were not set in stone yet and the storms could indeed return to stronger..as i was looking at models it seems NOW,today..more models are putting the Low right into tampa bay then crossing florida...now indeed..IF this does come true..we could get even stronger warnings wens night and thursday..we'll see what the warnings are wenesday morning..


Not a lot of clarity as to how strong this low is going to be. As we get into March and April our chances of strong to severe storms goes up.
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THOUGH TIMING STILL NEEDS TO BE DEFINED...BELIEVE AT SOME POINT
DURING THE MORNING AN ORGANIZED SQUALL LINE WILL MOVE FROM THE EAST
GULF ONTO THE WEST-CENTRAL FLORIDA COAST AND TRACK ACROSS EAST
CENTRAL FLORIDA DURING THE DAY. PARAMETERS ARE AS SUCH THAT
STRONG/SEVERE STORMS WITH POTENTIALLY DAMAGING STRAIGHT LINE
WINDS...LARGE HAIL...TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS WILL ALL BE IN PLAY AS
THIS LINE OF CONVECTION MOVES OVER THE AREA. WHILE THERE MAY BE SOME
LINGERING SHOWERS OVER LAND DURING THE EVENING...SUSPECT MUCH OF THE
HEAVIER ACTIVITY WILL ALREADY BE OFF OF THE EAST COAST AND MOVING
AWAY FROM THE AREA THU NIGHT.

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http://climate.cod.edu/data/forecast/GFS/12/SE/gf sS E_sfc_thetae_054.gif
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Nam is slower but you can see the squall line now..
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Quoting 253. ncstorm:


with mayo..delicious..
yuk got to be mustard
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Quoting 243. PedleyCA:
OMG a typo, that's a sure sign of Doom. Or is the other way around.

Thanks for the Blog Update Dr. Masters.....
Signing up on Feb 29 is a sure sign of DOOM.
;)
Quoting 194. yonzabam:


I know they have to err on the safe side, but how many false alarms do you get for every tornado strike within, say, 5 miles?
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.
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Quoting 242. jpsb:


A Danish group that has reproduced the Earth's atmosphere in the laboratory has shown how clouds might be seeded by incoming cosmic rays. The team believes that the research provides evidence that fluctuations in the cosmic-ray flux caused by changes in solar activity could play a role in climate change.



Physicists claim further evidence of link between cosmic rays and cloud formation


The CERN/CLOUD results are surprisingly interesting…
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Quoting 244. jrweatherman:


The NWS out of Tampa is still using strong to severe "but not as pronounced as before" in their discussion. If the low does cross Central Fl the I expect some pretty good rains and certainly a chance of severe storms.
yes they were saying the models were not set in stone yet and the storms could indeed return to stronger..as i was looking at models it seems NOW,today..more models are putting the Low right into tampa bay then crossing florida...now indeed..IF this does come true..we could get even stronger warnings wens night and thursday..we'll see what the warnings are wenesday morning..
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Quoting 252. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
I like mine fried


with mayo..delicious..
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Quoting 249. luvtogolf:
It's all a bunch of "balogney."
I like mine fried
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Quoting 247. PedleyCA:
Friday is coming Keeper. Is that a 37 I see.
yes hopefully
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31 degrees here per WU..doesn't look like we will make it above freezing..
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It's all a bunch of "balogney."
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248. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting 204. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Oh ok I know California gets some huge waves, so maybe this is not all that uncommon.

That restaurant looked like it's been there a while so probably not normal for there. It was from that huge, subtropical looking storm.

I would have got up before that wave hit..
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Friday is coming Keeper. Is that a 37 I see.
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Quoting 240. StormTrackerScott:


Models seem to be trending stronger with the Gulf low again. Infact the Euro blast C FL with very intense rains on Thursday. Don't know about severe potential but one would think with a 1004 to 1008mb low crossing N or C FL that we could have atleast have some risk for rough weather. That being said this event upcoming Wednesday & Thursday looks to be a big rain producer for FL with the Euro targeting C FL as the bulls-eye.



JMA is on board too









Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14418
Quoting 239. FunnelVortex:


here he was at his finest



Still better looking than all storms that season though.
Even 2012 had better looking cyclone
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Quoting 240. StormTrackerScott:


Models seem to be trending stronger with the Gulf low again. Infact the Euro blast C FL with very intense rains on Thursday. Don't know about severe potential but one would think with a 1004 to 1008mb low crossing N or C FL that we could have atleast have some risk for rough weather. That being said this event upcoming Wednesday & Thursday looks to be a big rain producer for FL with the Euro targeting C FL as the bulls-eye.



The NWS out of Tampa is still using strong to severe "but not as pronounced as before" in their discussion. If the low does cross Central Fl the I expect some pretty good rains and certainly a chance of severe storms.
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OMG a typo, that's a sure sign of Doom. Or is the other way around.

Thanks for the Blog Update Dr. Masters.....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5672
242. jpsb
Quoting 237. FunnelVortex:


I watched that, and I was like "supernovas create clouds? What the ***?"


A Danish group that has reproduced the Earth's atmosphere in the laboratory has shown how clouds might be seeded by incoming cosmic rays. The team believes that the research provides evidence that fluctuations in the cosmic-ray flux caused by changes in solar activity could play a role in climate change.



Physicists claim further evidence of link between cosmic rays and cloud formation

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Quoting 234. luvtogolf:


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


It's hard to give much consideration to someone who can't write a complete sentence.
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Quoting 228. ncstorm:
12z CMC precip map



12z GFS


Models seem to be trending stronger with the Gulf low again. Infact the Euro blast C FL with very intense rains on Thursday. Don't know about severe potential but one would think with a 1004 to 1008mb low crossing N or C FL that we could have atleast have some risk for rough weather. That being said this event upcoming Wednesday & Thursday looks to be a big rain producer for FL with the Euro targeting C FL as the bulls-eye.

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Quoting 235. Gearsts:
It wasn't good looking lol


here he was at his finest



Still better looking than all storms that season though.
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Humberto looked casual.
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Quoting 148. ScottLincoln:

Too many half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies in the "Great Global Warming Swindle" to debunk point by point. But I assure you as an actual degreed scientist, that "film" is nonsense. Grade A balogney.

Use critical thinking skills, get a better source.


I watched that, and I was like "supernovas create clouds? What the ***?"
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236. jpsb
Quoting 214. Jedkins01:




If you didn't believe in AGW, then you wouldn't believe it, ie. you would be one of the people arguing against it everyday.






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".
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Quoting 229. FunnelVortex:


Trust me, 2014 will be wayyyyyyy more interesting ;)

We only had like, one good looking hurricane last year?
It wasn't good looking lol
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Quoting 148. ScottLincoln:

Too many half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies in the "Great Global Warming Swindle" to debunk point by point. But I assure you as an actual degreed scientist, that "film" is nonsense. Grade A balogney.

Use critical thinking skills, get a better source.


Hard to put so much trust in someone who can't spell.
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Quoting 230. Birthmark:

I have. I don't see anything that warrants a countdown clock.


ok
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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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