Climate Lottery- Spring 2014 Contest

By: Guy Walton , 11:15 PM GMT on March 16, 2014

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A special note: Dr. Masters has kindly offered a free 10-year membership to wunderground (worth $100) for the winner of the spring 2014 Climate Lottery contest. The contest for this spring will be open from the time of this blog posting and close on midnight EDT April 6th. The National Climatic Data Center’s ranking numbers for spring 2014 posted on or shortly after June 15th, 2014 will be the official "Climate Lottery" numbers for the contest. Any subsequent changes by NCDC after their initial posted rankings will not be valid for the contest…and those ranking numbers will change with time. All you need to do to enter the contest is leave a reply in the comments section of this blog.*

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. It’s been a long but interesting winter in the world of weather. How about making a forecast for spring 2014? If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery”, pick three numbers between 1 and 120 (with one representing the coldest possible ranking and 120 being the highest possible ranking) for March, April, and May 2014. Also pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number spring 2014 between 1 and 120. Since 2014 will be the 120th year the National Climatic Center has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2014 will have a record warmest ranking of 120. Please give your picks in the reply section to this blog by April 5th, 2014 (only in the wunderground.com site). As usual, if you wait until just before April 5th to make your picks, you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for March will be (and also a heads-up guess for April).

All data can be found at the NCDC Climate at a Glance Site noted here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/

The winning Climate Lottery numbers for winter (DEC/JAN/FEB) 2013/2014 were 21/53/37 with a Power Ball number of 34 for the season.

The Power Ball (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for winter 2013/2014 for the lower 48 states was the 34th coldest on record for any winter since 1895. In the Climate Lottery game, I’ve defined each individual lottery number as rankings for each month for the lower 48 states, Power Ball numbers as those for each season, and Mega Ball numbers as those for each year. Winter 2013/2014 was colder than average across the lower 48 states. Chances for an entire season of below average temperatures are becoming much less likely across the lower 48 states. What we saw this winter in the eastern and central U.S. was not indicative of what was happening around the rest of the globe in association with global warming due to carbon pollution.

References to all of my blog posts can be found at: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/guywalton/show.h tml



The winter season, as a whole, was below long term averages for the lower 48 states. The whole point of these posts is to demonstrate how skewed temperatures have become towards warmth due to climate change…but winter 2013/2014 did not reflect this trend. Of course, as far as the globe goes, the larger an area that is compared to averages goes, the more likely that area is to be above long term averages. As stated in my fourth post, only an increase in volcanic activity from what is presently occurring at the moment can significantly slow the overall warming trend of the planet…and yes this activity has increased over the last several years. What has happened so far this decade is yet more proof of the climate dice being loaded for warmth in the United States, but the numbers coming out of the old “Climate Hopper” in the U.S. were definitely not that warm, as a whole, for winter 2013/2014.

Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers for winter 2013/2014:

For winter 2013/2014 the overall ranking (or Powerball number) for the lower 48 states was 34 (out of 120):



(The National Climatic Center has come up with new graphics since January) Most of the western U.S. had above average temperatures through the winter months while most of the East had below average temperatures. In fact California had its warmest winter on record. The drought in California reached epic proportions. The rest of the nation had a brutally cold and snowy winter that some are comparing to the winter of 1977/1978. A strong upper ridge produced mild and dry conditions in the West. What came to be known as “The Polar Vortex” (a meteorological term that has really been with us for many years but the media pounced on in January) was to blame for the cold conditions in the Midwest and East. The following is a breakdown of each month for fall 2013. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 119.

In December the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 21 (out of 119):



The ball landing out of the Climate Lottery hopper ended up well below average in December 2013 across the lower 48 states, which averaged 21st coldest since 1895. Cold conditions were apparent in most of the West, Midwest and South-Central States. Warmer than average conditions occurred in the Southeast.

In January the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 53 (out of 120):



The jet stream switched from what it was in December to its dominant pattern for the winter…a strong ridge over the West with a trough in the East. Record or near record warmth and drought in the West was countered by a lot of record cold in the East such that January came up slightly below average out of the Climate Hopper for January 2014.

In February 2014 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 37 (out of 119):




February 2014 was another relatively cold month with basically the same upper air pattern of a ridge in the West with a trough in the East predominating over the United States. Most of the east and central states saw below average temperatures while the West continued to see mild temperatures.

The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” for the 2010’s:

(I’m keeping the format on all of my charts the same as on the last four posts. The average ranking for 2013 is 59.5 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest would be 119. I have color coded all rankings for this post at or below 39 blue and all those at or above 79 red with rankings + or – 20 from the median value of 59 black. With time, the rankings for each individual month, season and year will change as more data becomes available to the National Climatic Data Center.)



Also, for reference, the following are “Power-Ball” and “Mega-Ball” ranking numbers for 2000 to the present.
Please see my third post for more charts dating back to 1900. Seasonal or Power-Ball rankings for winter are those for DEC/JAN/FEB, spring are those for MAR/APR/MAY, summer is JUN/JUL/AUG, and fall is SEP/OCT/NOV. Also, keep in mind that NCDC rankings for seasons compare seasons and are not merely an average of rankings of individual months of a season or year. For a change, the winter 2013/2014 ranking was in the blue or “below average” range.





Notice that since the start of 2000 only seven out of fifty-seven seasons have been below average or “blue” (including the winter of 2013/2014). Thirty-nine out of the fifty-seven seasons since 2000 have been “red” or above average. Indeed, the climate lottery hopper is very much loaded for above average temperatures for the lower 48 states looking at recent history. Yes, the “casino of climate averages” is cheating causing the “house of warming” due to climate pollution to win just about every season.

Here’s a hint for anyone wanting to play the Climate Lottery: So far, there have been well below average temperatures in March 2014 affecting the central and eastern states…very much like what happened during the winter. I hope that everyone will have a good spring.

Guy Walton
Lead Forecaster, the Weather Channel
“That Climate Guy”

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21. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
12:01 AM GMT on June 14, 2014
guywalton has created a new entry.
20. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
11:05 PM GMT on June 13, 2014
Well, guess what Rod....you won since there were only a few people besides me who played "The Climate Lottery" (and I'm not eligible for the prize).

I'll ask Dr. Masters to give you your subscription prize worth $100 to wunderground.

Look for my next post for the summer 2014 later tonight.

Cheers and good luck with the summer contest!

Guy
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
19. rod2635
10:55 PM GMT on June 13, 2014
Guy,

May is out at 89 so your April perfect score and May prediction of 82 were excellent. Good thing you're ineligible or you would not doubt have won spring. Will wait for the official results and the impact of the powerball.
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
18. rod2635
9:20 AM GMT on May 28, 2014
Quoting 17. guywalton:

Why yes Rod, there will be a summer 2014 Climate Lottery and a fall 2014 Climate Lottery, etc. as long as I am doing this blog. Jeff Masters has permitted me to "up the antie" a bit for the next contest....stay tuned.

The next contest will begin around June 15th once the spring Climate Lottery numbers have been processed by NCDC.


Well I'm curious about the 'ante' now. But I guess that will have to wait a couple of weeks,
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
17. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
11:31 PM GMT on May 27, 2014
Why yes Rod, there will be a summer 2014 Climate Lottery and a fall 2014 Climate Lottery, etc. as long as I am doing this blog. Jeff Masters has permitted me to "up the antie" a bit for the next contest....stay tuned.

The next contest will begin around June 15th once the spring Climate Lottery numbers have been processed by NCDC.
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
16. rod2635
9:20 AM GMT on May 27, 2014
will there be a summer climate lottery?
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
15. rod2635
10:54 AM GMT on May 19, 2014
Quoting 14. guywalton:

Hey Rod,

The second Climate Lottery number for spring 2014 popping out of the NCDC hopper is 75 for April 2014.

So we have 43 and 75 for the first two numbers. April 2014 was just slightly above average, temperature wise, for the lower 48 states.

Hey, I got April exactly right, but my guess does not count for a couple of you that have been playing along.



I suppose May will be the decider. My 42 for March was close to the 43, your 75 for April was spot on compared to my overcool 57. With the way things are going my 78 for May will probably not be warm enough to win the season. But the summer contest is right around the corner.
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
14. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
7:09 AM GMT on May 19, 2014
Hey Rod,

The second Climate Lottery number for spring 2014 popping out of the NCDC hopper is 75 for April 2014.

So we have 43 and 75 for the first two numbers. April 2014 was just slightly above average, temperature wise, for the lower 48 states.

Hey, I got April exactly right, but my guess does not count for a couple of you that have been playing along.
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
13. rod2635
12:24 PM GMT on May 17, 2014
Quoting 11. guywalton:

The first Climate Lottery number for spring 2014 has popped up from NCDC's hopper. That number is 43 for March 2014.

Vermont had it's coldest March on record since 1895. Warmth continued for much of the West.


Any official news for the April number yet?
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
12. rod2635
12:18 AM GMT on April 17, 2014
Quoting 11. guywalton:

The first Climate Lottery number for spring 2014 has popped up from NCDC's hopper. That number is 43 for March 2014.

Vermont had it's coldest March on record since 1895. Warmth continued for much of the West.


Well that bodes well for my forecast of 42 for March. Off to a good start!
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
11. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
1:44 AM GMT on April 16, 2014
The first Climate Lottery number for spring 2014 has popped up from NCDC's hopper. That number is 43 for March 2014.

Vermont had it's coldest March on record since 1895. Warmth continued for much of the West.
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
10. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
3:01 AM GMT on April 08, 2014
All, the forecast contest for spring 2014 is now closed.
My thanks go out to those who have participated.
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
9. rod2635
9:19 AM GMT on March 24, 2014
so far a tighter cluster than we saw for winter, could be a close call
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
8. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
11:39 PM GMT on March 23, 2014
Thanks so far everyone for playing. Obviously, I'm not eligible for "the prize", but my picks are:

30 MAR/75 APR/ 82/MAY...65 spring 2014 Power Ball.

Cheers!

Guy
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
7. kristinarinell
5:35 AM GMT on March 22, 2014
March 35
April 49
May 87

Powerball 60
Member Since: November 21, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5534
6. rod2635
11:11 PM GMT on March 21, 2014
Suppose I should wait until the last day, but let's take some risk and commit now.

March 42
April 57
May 78

Spring Powerball 62
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
5. rod2635
9:16 AM GMT on March 18, 2014
Quoting 4. guywalton:
Just to be clear...the contest is for the lower 48 states if you read the blog.

Guess what Rod...you won the winter 2013/2014 contest.

Your picks were the chilliest of the few people (including yours truly) who played along.

For comparison your picks were: DEC28/JAN56/FEB65/P.B.50
Correct Climate Lottery Numbers: 21/ 53/ 37/P.B.34

Sorry Rod that there was no prize for the winter...I hope you have just as much luck with the spring contest.

Guy


Thanks! I'm psyched for spring. Thought my February might have been too warm when your results came out, but the December/January momentum saved me. The prize is doing well for the season. Let's see if that holds for spring, hopefully have something this weekend.
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
4. Guy Walton , Lead Forecaster
12:56 AM GMT on March 18, 2014
Just to be clear...the contest is for the lower 48 states if you read the blog.

Guess what Rod...you won the winter 2013/2014 contest.

Your picks were the chilliest of the few people (including yours truly) who played along.

For comparison your picks were: DEC28/JAN56/FEB65/P.B.50
Correct Climate Lottery Numbers: 21/ 53/ 37/P.B.34

Sorry Rod that there was no prize for the winter...I hope you have just as much luck with the spring contest.

Guy
Member Since: January 10, 2013 Posts: 13 Comments: 24
3. Ossqss
12:02 AM GMT on March 18, 2014
Sooo, just to be clear. This is a CONUS, or GLOBAL contest?

Seems like there is information related to both in your post. TIA
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
2. rod2635
9:13 AM GMT on March 17, 2014
so who was the winner of the winter lottery? I didn't set aside my predictions so I don't know if the ones you posted were mine or not. I do recall making a pretty cold December prediction.
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
1. BaltimoreBrian
11:17 PM GMT on March 16, 2014
Is it too late to do a spring forecast contest? I can hardly do worse than last time ;)
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8558

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Guy Walton is a Lead Forecaster at The Weather Channel

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