Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday March 21st, 2020/ Main Topic: Let’s Play The Spring Climate Lottery

Saturday March 21st… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog 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)😉

Main Topic: Let’s Play The Spring Climate Lottery

Dear Diary. This weekend as coronavirus rages around the planet we still need to think about our changing climate but in creative ways so as not to get too depressed about our global situation. To that end over the last decade I’ve come up with a simple game all can play through April 5th called the “Climate Lottery.” This entails not just picking numbers out of a hat or hopper but is a thinking person’s game. Hope you will play this, particularly while quarantining, which can at least be a slight diversion from the awful health crisis facing our world.

The Climate Lottery is a forecast contest free to play by giving your picks in an e-mail or in this post’s comment section. No prizes will be given out for the contest, which is for educational purposes only. The main purpose for the contest is to get people interested in National Center for Environmental Information climate products. The special account that I have set up for the contest is guywalton10@gmail.com. This time I will make a personal pick, following along with any players.

The National Center for Environmental Information ranking numbers for average temperatures of the lower 48 states for Spring 2020 will be posted on or shortly after June 6th, 2020 which will be the official “Climate Lottery” numbers of the contest. Any subsequent changes by NCEI after their initial posted rankings will not be valid for the contest…but those ranking numbers will change with time.

The winning Climate Lottery numbers for Winter 2019/20 (DEC, JAN, FEB) were 119/122/97 with a Power Ball number of 120 for the season, meaning that the last winter was sixth warmest in recorded history for the U.S.

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. Winter 2019/20  turned out to be another well above average season, temperature wise, for most of the United States. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery” pick one number between 1 and 125 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 125 being the highest possible ranking) for March, April, and May 2019. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for Spring 2020 between 1 and 125. The Power Ball ranking will serve as a tiebreaker for any close picks between contestants. Your picks are NCEI rankings for average temperatures across the lower 48 states. Since 2020 is the 125th year that the National Center for Environmental Information has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2020 will have a warmest ranking of 125. Monthly rankings for 2020 will have a range from 1 to 125 with the coldest ranking being the number 1.

Please give your picks to Guywalton10@gmail.com before April 5th, 2020. 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 National Center for Environmental Information site noted here:


The Power Ball (or overall National Center for Environment Information) number for Winter 2019/20 for the lower 48 states was 120, which was well above the average ranking of 62.5, for the lower 48 states. 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. 

Chances for an entire season of below average temperatures are becoming much less likely across the lower 48 states due to carbon pollution. The whole point of these posts is to demonstrate how skewed temperatures have become towards warmth due to climate change and to get people to look at NCEI data. Of course, as far as the globe goes, the larger an area that is compared to average, the more likely that area is to be above long term averages. What has happened this decade is yet more proof of the climate lottery game being loaded for warmth in the United States. Balls coming out of the Climate Lottery hopper are likely to have high numbers. 

Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers by state for Winter 2019/20, which was ranked as 120th coolest (or a Powerball ranking of 120):

Every state had an above average of much above average ranking, which is alarming.

The following is a breakdown of each month for Winter 2019/20. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 125.

In December the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 120 (out of 124 since a ranking of 124 was highest for 2019): 

The core of the most anomalous warmth was in the south-central and south-eastern states.

In January 2020 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 122 (out of 125):

The core of the most anomalous warmth was in the Midwest, Northeast and south-central states with not one state being near average.

In February 2020 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 97 (out of 125):

The most anomalous warmth occurred in California and the middle-Atlantic states. 

Here is a first…Not one state had below average temperatures for any single month of Winter 2019/2020.

The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” from 2011-2020:

The average ranking for 2020 is 62.5 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 125. I have color coded all rankings for this post at or below 42 blue and all those at or above 82 red with rankings + or – 20 from the mean value of 62.5 black. With time, the rankings for each individual month, season and year will change as more data becomes available from NCEI. Also, for reference, the annual or “mega ball” numbers are shown on the chart. The mega ball number for 2018 was 111 meaning that 2018 was the thirteenth warmest year on record for the lower 48 states. 

Seasonal or Power Ball rankings for winter are those for DEC/JAN/FEB, spring are MAR/APR/MAY, summer JUN/JUL/AUG, and fall SEP/OCT/NOV. Also, keep in mind that NCEI rankings for seasons are not merely an average of rankings of individual month of a season or year as was the case for Winter 2019/20- 120/124/97 P.B.120:

Notice that since the start of 2011 only four out of thirty-seven seasons have been well below average or “blue.” Twenty-six out of thirty-seven seasons since 2011 have been “red” or above average. Winter 2019/20 was well above average, so was colored red. 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” to win just about every season due to carbon pollution.

 I hope that everyone will have a great spring and will stay well, adhering  to advice given by state and local officials concerning coronavirus

Guy Walton

“The Climate Guy”

Now, here are some of todays articles on the coronavirus:


Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(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. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)

(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.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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