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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Quoting 79. ricderr:
I agree with your post but to some length..you dont think there isnt money to push global warming..my goodness the President is proposing 1 billion dollars towards Global Warming relief..where will that money come from to fund it?

government has funded relief from weather damage for decades


higher taxes, special alternative energy interests groups and more taxes..still didnt answer where the money will come from but I thought I would help you with it..

we have kids dying in Chicago from gang war violence, record number of homeless people, mental facilities closing down due to lack of funding..families living below poverty, record unemployment but lets take away relief from those problems to come up with a fund to combat an effort that isnt accepted by all..

ask the US public what is important right now..


"When we asked about climate change again in a survey conducted in Feb. 2013, only 34% of the public viewed new climate change policies as something that was essential for the White House and Congress to tackle last year."

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14563
132. josF
Quoting 48. sar2401:

A start. Google=friend. Use it.

g00g'l is not good for net freedom or/for that matter peoples rights and privacy. IMO
I use duckduckgo SSL
Peace.
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Quoting 115. Patrap:
OK, here is the deal "lil" ones.

If you wanna come and beat up the Entry writer and the Science, at least bring sumthing other than yer opines to er, "show us da light".


Zulu has past Gallier Hall and Rex is rolling.


Enjoy your parade floats pulled by diesel tractors and catch plenty of them plastic beads made in China from petroleum products. Be sure to come back here and bitch about big oil when Mardi Gras is over.
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Quoting 100. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Wow, who pissed in everybody's cornflakes this morning?

Thanks for the blog, Dr. Masters.
I don't know but I am getting tried of it
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A 2 feet rise is sea levels is not going to make the Earth unsuitable for life.


you're right...but the ramifications to homes and businesses will be catastrophic....just a small example would be the florida keys....every house would have to be retrofitted to withstand storm surge from even a minor hurricane...the cost would be staggering
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127. NCstu
Quoting 112. Birthmark:

More snowfall in winter really doesn't have much effect. Northern Hemisphere snow cover is down substantially in both spring, and more importantly summer.

Here's the wikipedia gospel that I'm preaching

"Another theory proposed by Ewing and Donn in 1956[39] hypothesized that an ice-free Arctic Ocean leads to increased snowfall at high latitudes. When low-temperature ice covers the Arctic Ocean there is little evaporation or sublimation and the polar regions are quite dry in terms of precipitation, comparable to the amount found in mid-latitude deserts. This low precipitation allows high-latitude snowfalls to melt during the summer. An ice-free Arctic Ocean absorbs solar radiation during the long summer days, and evaporates more water into the Arctic atmosphere. With higher precipitation, portions of this snow may not melt during the summer and so glacial ice can form at lower altitudes and more southerly latitudes, reducing the temperatures over land by increased albedo as noted above."
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Quoting Birthmark:

Well, why don't you do it and prove your point? That would be interesting.


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Quoting 53. CarolinaHurricanes87:


Extinction of republicans


Although meant in humor, there are some republicans that do recognize the facts for what they are. Unfortunately, very few of them stand up and publicly pronounce their understanding, as it would enflame the "base" of that party.
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And if Independent, well, decide the Election one could say, or the "Image".


I should move to Venice maybe?
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Quoting 118. CarolinaHurricanes87:



The site still is about weather. It's a cold morning here in Charlotte, still in the upper 20s. Barely missed out on the sleet/freezing rain/snow last night, saw a few flakes but not enough to create any black icing issues this morning. All in all, its a beautiful, cold, sunny day.

As for chicken little rookery comment.... if you don't think the sky is falling, get out, enjoy your day, and stop insulting posters you disagree with! Excuse those of us who are content discussing science and facts on a scientific blog....


Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot. I'm sure you two will be great friends.

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I cannot verify this system over the US until I found out if it was done by Democrat or a Republican.

If it is a Republican move the clouds more to the right; if a Democrat, move the clouds to the left.



Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25381
Quoting 119. Patrap:
Earth has shown a Global Warm Bias Avg Temps for over 28 years,..



Fresca order is in fo 2014,7 cases to be delivered and a case o Cracker Jack.

The cracker Jack extra always shows a bias to Landfalling CONUS Cat 3's and higher in the past.

SO..........






Nooooooooooo! Not the facts! It can't be real...... its cold outside today!!!!
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Earth has shown a Global Warm Bias Avg Temps for over 28 years,..



Fresca order is in fo 2014,7 cases to be delivered and a case o Cracker Jack.

The cracker Jack extra always shows a bias to Landfalling CONUS Cat 3's and higher in the past.

SO..........



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Quoting 103. jonger1150:
Smart move by Masters to leave off the 1940's and 1930's on his chart, would have looked very lopsided for warmth records.

Smart move.

You can see the 1950's showing the downslope from those decades.

Well, why don't you do it and prove your point? That would be interesting.
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Quoting 107. ColoradoBob1:
The biggest disaster you’ve probably never heard of

One of the world's worst droughts has been quietly killing farms in northeastern Brazil. GlobalPost took a weeklong trip to see how they're faring.


Link


Brazil drought pushes Arabica prices up 78% in 4 months

Link


Very interesting. North east Brazil is one of the areas that experiences extreme drought during El Ninos. Malaysia/Indonesia is another area that experiences extreme drought, and Malaysia is having its most extreme dry spell for many years. Indonesia is also experiencing drought.

Could global warming be messing with cause and effect?
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OK, here is the deal "lil" ones.

If you wanna come and beat up the Entry writer and the Science, at least bring sumthing other than yer opines to er, "show us da light".


Zulu has past Gallier Hall and Rex is rolling.


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Quoting 40. sar2401:

He has a point, regardless of what you might think of his style. In general, if it's cold one place, it almost has to be warm somewhere else. The Earth stays in balance that way. The colder it is North America, there has to be counterbalancing heat somewhere. It happens to be the Artic right now. That is undeniable.
You forgot the entire western half of CONUS. Last night, a local met stated that there were only 2 nights in D/J/F that got below freezing! We will be in the low to mid 80's later on in the week.

The year without a winter is leading into a hot miserable spring/summer.....

Edit: I am in the Tucson area.
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Quoting 108. NCstu:
OK, the exhaustive research that I undertook in the last 20 minutes tells me that water flowing from the poles to the equator causes global cooling. Additionally, this will happen if there is ice reduction in the poles. Therefore, if the polar ice cap does in fact melt, then that would lead to gradual cooling of the northern hemisphere. Also, it would lead to more snowfall which increases the albedo effect (something discussed on here from time to time).

My opinion is that there is some merit to this theory. The whole "it's warmer so it's cold" is correct, but "it's gonna keep getting colder" may be a logical corollary.

More snowfall in winter really doesn't have much effect. Northern Hemisphere snow cover is down substantially in both spring, and more importantly summer.

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Quoting 95. MahFL:


A 2 feet rise is sea levels is not going to make the Earth unsuitable for human life.


2 feet rise, maybe not. But the mass migration and starvation that will follow sea level rise & changes in weather patterns (making agriculture difficult if not impossible in areas it used to thrive) will cause pretty big problems for everyone in the world. Why not TRY to do something to stop it?
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109. yoboi
Quoting 103. jonger1150:
Smart move by Masters to leave off the 1940's and 1930's on his chart, would have looked very lopsided for warmth records.

Smart move.

You can see the 1950's showing the downslope from those decades.



I was thinking the very same thing.....
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108. NCstu
OK, the exhaustive research that I undertook in the last 20 minutes tells me that water flowing from the poles to the equator causes global cooling. Additionally, this will happen if there is ice reduction in the poles. Therefore, if the polar ice cap does in fact melt, then that would lead to gradual cooling of the northern hemisphere. Also, it would lead to more snowfall which increases the albedo effect (something discussed on here from time to time).

My opinion is that there is some merit to this theory. The whole "it's warmer so it's cold" is correct, but "it's gonna keep getting colder" may be a logical corollary.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The biggest disaster you’ve probably never heard of

One of the world's worst droughts has been quietly killing farms in northeastern Brazil. GlobalPost took a weeklong trip to see how they're faring.


Link


Brazil drought pushes Arabica prices up 78% in 4 months

Link
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Issa cold Mardi GRas day here.

Uptown, New Orleans

Now
Light Rain Mist
Temperature

37.4 °F

Feels Like 34 °F
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Quoting 84. help4u:

[...] Algore
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Quoting 91. Patrap:
Maybe we should round up the republicans and put them in some type of camps or something. Try to reeducate them and, if that fails, well...


Well, we have a short list to begin with,..I can wu mail it.


N.C. backs off proactive stance on climate



To use a few quotes from your article....

Guess what happened between the time when NC led "some of the country's earliest state-sponsored research and response to climate change"..... and now.... where the NC " legislature has all but dropped the issue "????


Our governor and state legislature went from democrats to republicans.

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Smart move by Masters to leave off the 1940's and 1930's on his chart, would have looked very lopsided for warmth records.

Smart move.

You can see the 1950's showing the downslope from those decades.
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100. TropicalAnalystwx13 4:09 PM GMT on March 04, 2014

Be more specific..Not all of us eat flakes..:)
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Quoting 88. help4u:
This site should be called Disney's weather ground.
Why.?
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Wow, who pissed in everybody's cornflakes this morning?

Thanks for the blog, Dr. Masters.
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Wake up in here, please.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtevF4B4RtQ
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Quoting 94. help4u:
Try to enjoy the day all is not doom and gloom. Enjoy the cold by a nice fire place


We have 500K doing dat outside right now, but thanx anyway.
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Quoting 52. ncstorm:


but you are doing the same thing by showing its hot in other places..I can't understand how some can't see that same reasoning..you posted earlier about other places being hot and the US and Asia experiencing cold yet but yet you threw in the "its not global for the cold places"..nor are the other places that are hot either..I cant see your point when you do the same thing that you are accusing others of doing..


Exactly my point that I have been trying to make.
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Quoting 90. hydrus:
Its a troubled world we live in Pat.


There is no trouble that a Jack & 7 and a slice of King cake can't cure.

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Quoting 86. CarolinaHurricanes87:but they couldn't care less about leaving behind a planet unsuitable for human life


A 2 feet rise is sea levels is not going to make the Earth unsuitable for human life.
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Try to enjoy the day all is not doom and gloom. Enjoy the cold by a nice fire place
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93. Skyepony (Mod)
3/3/2014 Virginia Winter Storm Road Chaos Footage

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This site should be called Disney's weather ground.


leave then..no one is forcing you here...
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Maybe we should round up the republicans and put them in some type of camps or something. Try to reeducate them and, if that fails, well...


Well, we have a short list to begin with,..I can wu mail it.


N.C. backs off proactive stance on climate
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Quoting 82. Patrap:
Seems dere is no help fo sum.

; )
Its a troubled world we live in Pat.
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@luvtogolf, as Dr M said there are more global warm records now than cold ones by 2 to 1, so the planet is warming.
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This site should be called Disney's weather ground.
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Quoting 30. txag91met:
1/4 to 1/2 ice accumulations in NW Houston this morning, lots of trees down and power outages.



We had non-freezing light rain all night here in northern Jasper County, but it just changed over to freezing rain about 9:35am. It's coming down pretty good too and sticking to mostly to metal surfaces and a bit to the trees. Temp 33.4. Hope it goes away fast. Stay safe out there.

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Quoting 74. MahFL:
@ CarolinaHurricanes87

The year 2100 is a long way off, no one knows for sure how much the sea levels will rise.
Also no politicians in power now will be in power year 2100.


Exactly why the heartless party does not care. They'll be long gone.... who gives a crap about the future generations who will actually have to deal with the problems these guys are allowing to spiral out of control???

Funny they care about leaving behind massive debt, but they couldn't care less about leaving behind a planet unsuitable for human life
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Quoting 71. BruceVoigt:
quote
1. BruceVoigt 1:01 AM GMT on February 17, 2014
@Dr. Ricky Rood, hate to burst bubbles but on your next Arctic trip ask the locals if they have noticed the location of spring sunrise and sunset to be abnormal!
"There is no such thing as global warming"!
Mostly longitudinal, erratic back and forth earth tipping has the earth changing its exposure to both sun and moon.
Moon exposure the reason for water movement (ocean level), sun exposure the reason for the melting of Kilimanjaro.
These tipping's for now have alternating cooling and warming happening. Where it is warmer in one area it will be cooler in another. (more water in one area less in another. That's for now, eventually and again the arctic becomes tropical and the ocean resides in Nevada.
It is of GREAT IMPORTANCE to establish a constant monitoring system for Canada's North Magnetic Pole Movements.
PS – No such thing as plate tectonics. Earth moves around and about its meandering north south magnetic axis.

You should go on CNN with this. The world will want to know.
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Ps also the earth was going to burn up in 2012.People freezing to death is the msin problem. Earth is a million degrees hot .Algore
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Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25381

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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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