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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MesoWest Jurupa Valley CA US SGXWFO, Riverside, California (PWS)
Updated: 2:49 PM PST on March 05, 2014
Mostly Cloudy
79 °F/26.11 °C
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 35%
Dew Point: 49 °F/9.44 °C
Wind: 4 mph from the West
Wind Gust: 10.0 mph
Pressure: 29.95 in (Falling)
Heat Index: 79 °F/26.11 °C
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 2 out of 16
Pollen: 8.30 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Mostly Cloudy 20000 ft
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 794 ft

78.5F/25.83 °C
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6003
Quoting 916. Grothar:
Well, according to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Horse. I wonder what they call the end of the year?

I believe the back end of the horse is known colloquially as "Birthmark"...at least in these parts.
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Quoting 926. GTstormChaserCaleb:
If you're bored and feel like Aiming a Hurricane at someone, lol.

Link


HEY, no fair... this is Atlantic only....
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Quoting 924. ncstorm:


R?


You're getting as corny as I am. :)
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River Discharge Alters Arctic Sea Ice
NASA Earth Observatory, March 6, 2014

A new study led by NASA researchers demonstrates that fresh water flowing from rivers into the Arctic Ocean can have a significant effect on the extent of sea ice cover. Warm water discharges can accelerate the melting of sea ice near the coast. It also can have a wider climate impact by creating more open water, which is darker than ice and absorbs more heat from sunlight. ...

More see link above.
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Quoting 911. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
I just like those maps better did not look as cold


lol


I hear ya..LOL..I'm tired of it myself too..ready to see some fire red posted on the clock promptly at 3:30 pm
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16041
If you're bored and feel like Aiming a Hurricane at someone, lol.

Link
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925. VR46L
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Quoting 916. Grothar:
Well, according to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Horse. I wonder what they call the end of the year?


R?
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16041
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
Miami, FL (KAMX) - Base Reflectivity (0.5)

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Melbourne, FL (KMLB) - Base Reflectivity (0.5)

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Quoting 918. Doppler22:
img src="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

img src="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

Random pictures I just took :p
that's about what we have for frozen snow ice
and likely that 3 to 4 inch ice storm below it
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Tampa Bay, FL (KTBW) - Base Reflectivity (0.5)

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img src="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

img src="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

Random pictures I just took :p
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Quoting 909. BobinTampa:


Notice how the heaviest rain band splits to the north and south of Tampa. Shields up!!
LOL it always does. the more red and orange on the models the less it seems we get in tampa.
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Well, according to the Chinese calendar, this is the Year of the Horse. I wonder what they call the end of the year?
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Good rain coming! :)
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Quoting 909. BobinTampa:


Notice how the heaviest rain band splits to the north and south of Tampa. Shields up!!


Fort Myers usually has a shield from frontal precipitation coming in from the north.

I can't tell you how many times a line of T storms associated with frontal boundry has fallen apart just as it reaches the Fort Myers area. It happens frequently.

But this system looks to be strong enough to push the line all the way through the state tomorrow.
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Good afternoon everyone. Its so good to see everyone. Looks like some bad weather is headed my way tonight.
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Atmosphere is getting more humid and some T storms firing off on the East Coast.
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Quoting 905. ncstorm:


Keep..are you saying the CPC will be wrong? you just posted maps and no explanation?
I just like those maps better did not look as cold


lol
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Quoting 904. Naga5000:


I don't think anyone has said that here.
Nope. No one has. That's just a very common denialist red herring.

Sigh...
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Quoting 903. ncstorm:


Here you go for everyone to see..



Notice how the heaviest rain band splits to the north and south of Tampa. Shields up!!
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Quoting 866. JNTenne:
A large storm cloud covers the Sydney CBD on March 5, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the Sydney metropolitan area late this afternoon with heavy rainfall due to cause flash flooding in areas. (Photo by Cassie Trotter/Getty Images)
Link

Link




2014 The Year the Forcing's strike back.



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The models having a little of a tough time with the timing and extent of rain for Florida at the moment.  Part of that is the timing issues associated with "stalled" fronts and how quickly or slowly they will lift up or down.  A little tougher to forecast unlike a shortwave, frontal passage or trof that you can clearly see coming in advance from the West pushing everything towards the East.

Here is the PM Tally take:

347 PM EST Wed Mar 5 2014

.Near Term [Through Tonight]...
A robust area of convection along a quasi-stationary boundary draped
across the Gulf has not been modeled well. The only models that have
an acceptable representation are the frequently updating hires
models. Even then, most incorrectly place the convection spatially.
This convection will play an important role in the PoP forecast
overnight, especially across the southeast third of our forecast
area. Expect the mid-level warm anomaly generated by the convection
to move northeast away from the convection in the southwesterly flow
regime. As it does so, it will spread an area of mid-level
isentropic ascent (and showers) over the southeast Big Bend. There
is a low layer of dry air that the mid-level showers will have to
fall through, so it is unclear just how much rain will reach the
surface, but it should remain rather light.

See All You Folks in the AM.

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Quoting 878. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:






Keep..are you saying the CPC will be wrong? you just posted maps and no explanation?
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Quoting 902. Wildcat11:
It just seems disingenuous to refer to warm winters as confirmation of global warming while referring to cold winters as anomalies that can be ignored.


I don't think anyone has said that here.
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Quoting 886. StormTrackerScott:
Here's the latest WRF model for tomorrow. Looks nasty for sure.



Here you go for everyone to see..

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It just seems disingenuous to refer to warm winters as confirmation of global warming while referring to cold winters as anomalies that can be ignored.
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Local met on NBC predicts storms moving through the Fort Myers Fl. area around 4pm tomorrow.
I'll have to see how accurate he is tomorrow.

That would mean mid afternoon for the Tampa region.

Models seem to be pretty much in agreement.
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Quoting 893. pcola57:


You too barb..
Nice hiking weather..
Will check your blog a little later.. :)


Thanks, Marvin. But not much to check on my blog at present, lol. Lot of blank space after carnival. But you're welcome to fill it until I'll hopefully come up with some spring pictures from my hiking tour (if I'll survive it after this winter in front of my screen, lol!).
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Quoting 888. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 27



Nam 27 hours - tomorrow evening into the night is the best bet for the Southern half of the state (Fl).
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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 60 FINAL

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 57

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 51

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 45

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 39

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Quoting 881. barbamz:
Have a good night all!


You too barb..
Nice hiking weather..
Will check your blog a little later.. :)
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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 36

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 33

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 30

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 27

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 24

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Here's the latest WRF model for tomorrow. Looks nasty for sure.

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 21

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HIRES NAM SIM RAD 18Z RUN HR 18

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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.