Guy Walton is a Lead Forecaster at The Weather Channel
By: guywalton , 7:03 AM GMT on January 19, 2014
*A special note: Dr. Masters has kindly offered a free 5-year membership to wunderground (worth $100) for the winner of the spring 2014 Climate Lottery contest, so please practice! practice! practice! forecasting the remaining Climate Lottery rankings for winter 2014. The contest for winter 2013/2014 is closed as of 1/5/14. Thanks so much for participating!*
The winning Mega Ball number for 2013 was a warmer than average 83. The Climate Lottery ranking number for December 2013 was a chilly 21.
The Mega Ball lottery pick (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for 2013 came up from the “Climate and Weather Hopper” as the number 83 representing the 37th warmest year in history for the United States. The National Climatic Data Center has been ranking months, seasons and years from 1 to 119 since 1895 with 1 being the coldest possible temperature average ranking and 119 being the warmest possible temperature average. 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. As we keep seeing over and over again the Climate Lottery game is rigged towards those higher number rankings due to global warming and that certainly was the case again in 2013; although, compared to the “Mega Ball Ranking” of 2012, which was 119, 2013 was much cooler than 2012. 2013 was the coolest year for the lower 48 states since 2009. Also, more daily low records were reported than daily high records for the first time since 1993. The early and mid1990’s were relatively cool mainly due to the influence of the strong eruption from Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
The following are some noteworthy record statistics for 2013:
1) For the first year since 1993 there were more daily record lows than daily highs that were either tied or set in 2013
2) There were also more daily record low maximums than daily record low minimums that were either tied or set in 2013
3) Apparently, a cold spring tipped the statistics towards a “cool” 2013
4) Despite the “cool” statistics from 2013, because of the record “warmth” of 2012, the ratio of daily highs to daily lows continues to be near 3 to 1 for this decade, so far.
5) Interestingly, despite the “cool” record statistics temperatures were above average, as a whole; thus, the “Mega-Ball” or overall ranking for the lower 48 states was above the median ranking number of 60 (since there are more stations in the nation's mid-section where colder than average conditions prevailed than in the West)
6) The ratio of monthly records for the 2010’s continues to be above that of all other decades catalogued, so far, as well, except for the 1930's
For reference the following are the very warm daily record statistics from 2012. (Please keep in mind that all statistics are subject to National Climatic Data Center updates.):
I’m getting all of my surface record statistics from the following site: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/extremes/records/
I started a log of daily record high and daily record low reports back on 1/1/2000, which led to a peer reviewed study headed by Dr. Jerry Meehl of UCAR. I had no idea that the ratio of record highs to record lows would be climbing this rapidly after the Meehl study was published in 2009, but there has definitely been a “pause” in that trend due to record statistics from 2013. Details on the record study can be found at: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/49508/ description/Record_chills_are_falling_but_in_numbe r_only
Also, I have updated the decade’s ratio charts of daily record highs to daily record lows and monthly record highs to monthly record lows by adding data from this decade. The ratio for the 2010’s is now just under 3 to 1 for daily record and well over 3 to 1 for monthly records with the caveats that there are only four years of data for this decade so far, and that 2012 was an exceptionally warm year.
2013 was the 37th warmest year on record since 1895 and thus getting a “Mega-Ball ranking” of 83.
There were warmer than average temperatures for most of the lower 48 states both in the West and East with the majority of the colder than average conditions in the nation’s heartland. Again the overall ranking of 83 is not an average of the 48 individual state rankings; rather the ranking is a comparison of temperature averages for the lower 48 states for September since 1895.
I’m keeping the format on all of my charts the same as on my previous posts. The average ranking for 2013 is
59 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 38 blue and all those at or above 79 red with rankings + or – 19 from the median value of 59 black.
Compared to the first three years of the 2010’s 2013 was considerably cooler, overall, for the lower 48 states.
One must remember that not all years will be near record warmth due to weather patterns even in an area the size of the U.S.
For a reference to my last “Climate Lottery” post and forecast for the winter of 2013/2014 see:
January 2014 has started out on a very cold note due to a historic arctic outbreak in the nation’s central and eastern areas (You can blame the much hyped arctic vortex on those cold temps.), so any “Mega-ball” number coming out of the lottery hopper for 2014 is already skewed towards those lower rankings. Meanwhile, portions of the West are experiencing some unprecedented record warmth for January. As Climate Scientists and Meteorologists we will be monitoring every “cold and warm twist and turn” across the U.S. before a “Mega-ball” is drawn out of the hopper by the National Climatic Data Center in early 2015. I’m almost willing to ”bet” though that 2014 will be warmer than 2013.
Guy Walton….”The Climate Guy”
Lead Forecaster, the Weather Channel
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.