Guy Walton is a Lead Forecaster at The Weather Channel
By: guywalton , 2:34 AM GMT on February 17, 2013
The winning Mega Ball number for 2012 was 118, and for December 2012 the winning Climate Lottery Pick number was 109.
The Mega Ball lottery pick (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for 2012 came up as 118 representing the warmest year in history for the United States. The National Climatic Data Center has been ranking months, seasons and years from 1 to 118 since 1895 with 1 being the coldest possible temperature average ranking and 118 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. Think about the chances…1 in 118…of the lower 48 states having the warmest temperature ranking, if the planet was not warming up due to carbon pollution. It seems like every other blog post I write, one of the lottery numbers comes up as the highest possible number. Also, for those of you playing The Climate Lottery, the first winning pick for winter 2012/2013 was109 for December, again a number well above the average of 59.
The following are some noteworthy record statistics for 2012:
1) The year 2012 had the highest ratio of daily record high maximums to daily record low minimums in the NCDC data base, which was over 4 to 1, in recorded history.
2) The fewest number of record lows were either tied or set since 1928 when there were only 4,756 reports (total of reports for 2012 numbered 6,664).
3) The year 2012 had the highest ratio of daily record high minimums to daily record low maximums in the NCDC data base, which was over 5 to 2, in recorded history.
4) In 2012 362 all-time record highs were either tied or set while 0 all-time record lows were either tied or set adding to the misery across most of the lower 48 states during the warm season. (These numbers are subject to slight revisions by NCDC.
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.
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
Not that surprisingly, the surface record data matches up well with the fact that 2012 was the warmest year on record for the lower 48 states. Ominously, the threat for serious and prolonged heat waves over the summer is growing with each passing year.
Also, I have updated the decades 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 over 3 to 1 for daily record and over 5 to 1 for monthly records with the caveats that there are only three years of data for this decade, and that 2012 was an exceptionally warm year.
2012 was the warmest year on record by approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit when temperatures were averaged across the United States, so the Mega-Ball number came up as 118. The second warmest year was 1998.
October 2012 was the 10th warmest October in recorded history with a Climate Lottery Pick Ranking of 109.
Warm conditions for most of the lower 48 states aided to raise averages to high levels during the early part of the month. Temperatures did cool down during the latter half of the month, and The Weather Channel named three winter storms…Caesar, Draco, and Euclid…for the month; but despite the cooling, averages for December remained high. The overall raking for the U.S. came up as 109…well above the average of 59 and red number as rankings go. Looking at the map you can pick out each individual state ranking. Again the overall ranking of 109 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 December since 1895.
Again, I am getting all of my ranking numbers from the National Climatic Data Center.
The link for the National Climatic Data Center’s Climate at a Glance Site where the rankings are archived is:
I’m keeping the format on all of my charts the same as on my previous posts. The average ranking for 2012 is
59 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest would be 118. 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.
Amazingly, the first nine months of 2012 had rankings above 100 setting the stage for that “Mega-Ball” ranking for 2012 of 118.
For a reference to my last “Climate Dice” post and forecast for the winter see:
January 2013 has started out on the chilly side, but there are indications that mild temperatures will be in the offing during the middle of the month looking at a positive North Atlantic Oscillation developing. For more on the NAO see my second post. Despite the chilly temps, very few record lows have been set, so far this month. We’ll see if the mild trend continues for the rest of the winter.
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.