Guy Walton is a Lead Forecaster at The Weather Channel
By: guywalton , 12:01 AM GMT on June 14, 2014
Climate Lottery- Summer 2014 Contest
*A special note: I am offering a $100 cash prize for the summer 2014 contest that will be open from the time of this blog posting and close on midnight EDT July 5th. Just give your picks in the wunderground comments section of this blog in order to be eligible. The National Climatic Data Center’s ranking numbers for summer 2014 will be posted on or shortly after September 15th, 2014, which 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.*
The winning Climate Lottery numbers for spring (MAR/APR/MAY) 2014 were 43/75/89 with a Power Ball number of 70 for the season. The winner of the prize for the spring 2014 contest is Rod whose educated guesses were the closest to the actual ranking numbers.
Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. Spring 2014 turned out to be not too far away from long term averages in the lower 48 states for those following along. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery”, pick three numbers between 1 and 120 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 120 being the highest possible ranking) for June, July, and August 2014. Also pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number summer 2014 between 1 and 120…the Power Ball ranking will serve as a tiebreaker for any close picks. 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 July 5th, 2014. As usual, if you wait until just before July 5th to make your picks, you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for July will be (and also a heads-up guess for July).
All data can be found at the NCDC Climate at a Glance Site noted here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/
The Power Ball (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for spring 2014 for the lower 48 states was the 51st warmest on record for any spring 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. Spring 2014 was near 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.
References to all of my blog posts can be found at:
The spring season, as a whole, was slightly above average, temperature wise, 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. 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. What has happened so far this decade is yet more proof of the climate lottery game being loaded for warmth in the United States.
Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers for spring 2014:
For spring 2014 the overall ranking (or Powerball number) for the lower 48 states was 70 (out of 120):
Most of the western U.S. had above average temperatures through the spring months while most of the East and central states had below or near average temperatures. The drought in California and across much of the Southwest continued to stay at epic proportions. A strong upper ridge produced warm to hot and dry conditions in the West. The following is a breakdown of each month for spring 2014. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 120.
In March the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 43 (out of 120):
The ball landing out of the Climate Lottery hopper ended up below average in March 2014 across the lower 48 states, which averaged 43rd coldest since 1895. As was the case for much of the winter cold conditions continued for much of the East with Vermont having its coldest March on record, and much of the West having much above average temperatures.
In April the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 75 (out of 120):
Relatively cold conditions continued to occur across portions of the Midwest in April. Record or near record warmth and drought continued in the West. Overall, the number coming out of the National Climatic Data Center’s hopper was near average for the lower 48 states in April 2014.
In May 2014 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 89 (out of 120):
There was a relative warming trend across the lower 48 states during the spring. May 2014 was the warmest spring month in the continental U.S. California was the warmest state, which continued to suffer from the drought…yes drought breeds drought because dry ground often leads to hot 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 2014 is 60 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest would be 120. 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 60 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. The spring 2014 ranking was in the black or “near average” range.
Notice that since the start of 2000 only seven out of fifty-eight seasons have been below average or “blue”. Thirty-nine out of the fifty-eight 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….but not so much that the U.S. has seen well above average temperatures, as a whole, during the last winter and this spring. Yes though, 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 in June, there have been near average temperatures across the eastern and central states with well above average temperatures in the West. I hope that everyone will have a good and safe summer….and I also hope that there will not be as much heat across the country as was the case in the summers of 2011 and 2012.
Lead Forecaster, the Weather Channel
“That Climate Guy”
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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