Extreme Temperature Diary-January 28, 2019/ Topic: Key Climate Change Indicator…A Reduction In Record Low Temperatures

Monday January 28th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).☺

Key Climate Change Indicator…A reduction In Record Low Temperatures

Today just about everyone from the northern and central Plains through the Midwest into the Northeast and Deep South will soon be experiencing the wrath of the polar vortex, brought about by a much advertised in met circles stratospheric warming. I’m sure that many record lows will be set by the coldest outbreak of Arctic air, as some have described it, in decades. This weather pattern will be dangerously frigid, but if I can put a positive spin on the thing, due to climate change, we should see less intense cold with time.

Yeah! The government shutdown is over, so American climatologists can start processing data. After initially doing some digging on what the National Center for Environmental Information’s surface record had been recording sent shutting down before Christmas I had to do a double take. Only 85 daily record low minimums had been recorded for December, which was not due to a malfunction or the site being offline for about a month. Usually each month since about 1922 there have been hundreds if not thousands of record lows that were either tied or set recorded in the site:


I sent out this tweet earlier today:

Indeed, record cold is starting to disappear from the planet in earnest looking at trends. Let’s blow up the “Record Scoreboard” I tweeted out to see how record low counts are diminishing across the United States updated through 1/26/2019:

For this data set all monthly ratios of  > 10 to 1 DHMX to DLMN or > 10 to 1 DLMN to DHMX are in bold type. The rankings are for the lower 48 states with the warmest ranking since 1895 of average temperatures being 124 and 1 being the coldest as of 2018. Blue colors represent cold months and red warm. Those months with counts close to a 1 to 1 ratio of highs to lows are colored black. Boldly colored months, such as May 2018, have ratios of more than 10 to 1 daily record highs to lows or lows to highs, and are either historically hot or cold. December 2018 had a well above 1 to 1 ratio of record DHMX to DLMN individual counts, so the color I used for this month was red. NCEI has processed November data across the country, determining that the lower 48 had its 27th coldest month since 1895. The number 27 falls lower than the mid range (+ or – 10  from 62) or (1-41, 52-72, 73-124 ), so is also colored blue.

I’ll be adding December 2018’s ranking soon once NCEI catches up with bookkeeping since the government shutdown ended.

Bob Henson and I began to notice back in November 2016, which was a bold red month with a very high ratio of DHMX to DLMN, that the number of record low counts were substantially lowering most months since the beginning of 2015 such that counts of DLMN were no more than a few hundred most months. Worldwide due to a near record strong El Nino 2015 and 2016 were exceptionally hot years.

December 2018 was the first month since September 1922 that the count of DLMN records have been less than one hundred. We will see how the figure of 85 holds up with time as the NCEI site garners more data. If in the not so distant future months get so warm that counts per month of DLMN consistently remain below 100 just about every common man on the street will be able to recognize that climate change is here. If you think the summer months are unbearably hot now, wait until then.

To see all of my counts for DHMX and DLMN look at:


The current cold outbreak should bring ratios back to near 1 to 1 or may even tilt the tally of DLMN higher than that of DHMX for January 2019 for the United States, but worldwide Dr. Jeff Masters in his Weather Underground post noticed a dirty of record cold reports:


Quoting Dr. Masters at the end of this post:

No all-time cold records globally in 2019 yet: an unprecedented occurrence so late in the year

The current cold blast has not set any all-time record lows at any major stations with a long-term period of record thus far, though several stations in northern Ontario have come within a few degrees of doing so. At least four Midwest U.S. cities have a chance of setting an all-time cold record Wednesday or Thursday morning, though: Chicago (predicted low, –25°F, record low, –27°F); Rockford, Illinois (predicted low –30°F, record low –27°F);  Cedar Rapids, Iowa (predicted low –35°F, record low –29°F);  and Waterloo, Iowa (predicted low, –34°F, record low, –34°F).

Obviously the fewer daily records set the less all-time records will be attained.

So where is more science behind all of these wonky numbers? Please delve into this:

An updated 2016 study from Dr. Jerry Meehl indicates that the ratio of DHMX to DLMN will go up with time during the 21st century and will average around 15 to 1 by 2100:


Per one of the authors of both the 2009 and 2016 studies, Claudia Tebaldi said “This climate is on a trajectory that goes somewhere we’ve never been. And records are a very easy measure of that.”

As 2019 rolls along we will see how much a “rare breed” cold records will become…all due to the big elephant in the room, carbon pollution producing global warming.


Here is some more climate and weather news from Monday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

The Climate Guy


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