Extreme Temperature Diary-Tuesday January 18th, 2021/ Main Topic: Tracking All-Time Records…A New Analysis from The New York Times

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track global 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: Tracking All-Time Records…A New Analysis from The New York Times

Dear Diary. I’m gratified to know that some high profile and respected organizations continue to look at record temperatures as a measure for how broken our climate is becoming. Many of you know that I started my own analysis in 2000, which became the following peer reviewed study in 2009:


Since 2009 I’ve continued to update data for the Meehl study and put out a monthly email containing Excel files with the latest results. If you would like to see these, just email me at guywalton9@gmail.com.

This week the New York Times finished their own analysis of all-time records. I’m reposting their article for all to read (For better graphics click on this link to original article.):


A Vivid View of Extreme Weather: Temperature Records in the U.S. in 2021

By Krishna Karra and Tim Wallace Jan. 11, 2022

Where All-Time Temperature Records Were Set in 2021:

Temperatures in the United States last year set more all-time heat and cold records than any other year since 1994, according to a New York Times analysis of Global Historical Climatology Network data.

Heat waves made up most of these records. All-time heat records were set last year at 8.3 percent of all weather stations across the nation, more than in any year since at least 1948, when weather observations were first digitally recorded by the U.S. government.

The world has been warming by almost two-tenths of a degree per decade. Extreme-temperature events can often demonstrate the most visible effects of climate change.

“We do not live in a stable climate now,” said Robert Rohde, the lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, an independent organization focused on environmental data science. “We will expect to see more extremes and more all-time records being set.”

The brutal arctic outburst that caused Texas’ power grid to fail and the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest last June account for many of the new records.

During the winter storm, on Feb. 17, the temperature dropped to minus 5.98 degrees in Jacksonville, Texas, far below its normal February low of about 40 degrees. State officials in Texas said that 246 people died in the storm.

In Salem, Ore., the temperature spiked to 116.96 degrees on June 28. The normal high there in June is around 74 degrees. The National Weather Service has attributed at least 110 deaths to the extreme heat.

The Times analyzed temperature data from more than 7,800 weather stations across the United States. Locations without at least 30 years of weather data were ignored, though most stations have recorded temperature for at least 65 years.

All-time records have been set somewhere in the country every year since at least 1970, but 2021 stands alone when compared with recent years, a Times analysis found.

Heat waves in 2002 and 2012 brought unprecedented temperatures to hundreds of cities and towns. Like 2021, 2011 broke numerous cold and heat records. But last year’s extreme temperatures were spread across large areas of the country and surpassed even more records.

Numerous records set in 2021 were also broken by double digits.

To explain these extremes, Dr. Rohde made a comparison with world records in the 100-meter dash. Runners typically break world records by hundredths of a second.

Among the new temperature records, Dr. Rohde said, “it’s like someone came in and seemed to be running an entirely different race because they just blew past everything we’ve come to expect.”

Margin is the difference between the 2021 record and the previous record.

PlaceTemp.MarginPrevious record year
Franklin, Neb.-27.9411.882016
Mineola, Texas-7.9610.982018
Taylor, Neb.-31.0010.082016
Portland, Ore.116.069.001981
Salem, Ore.116.969.001981
Silverton, Ore.113.009.001981
Richardson, Texas-0.049.002011
Tacoma, Wash.105.088.101955
Troutdale, Ore.116.068.101977
Forks, Wash.109.947.921981

Note: Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.

New marks were also set by breaking records that have stood for decades. Bottineau, N.D., set a new minimum temperature record of minus 50.98 Fahrenheit, eclipsing tens of thousands of daily observations since 1893.

Oldest All-Time Temperature Records Broken in 2021

PlaceTemp.MarginPrevious record year
Bottineau, N.D.-50.980.901893
Arlington, Texas0.763.781894
Vernonia, Ore.111.023.961899
Jacksonville, Texas-5.980.901899
Wallace, Kan.-25.061.081905
El Reno, Okla.-16.061.081905
Superior, Neb.-32.981.981905
Decatur, Texas-7.067.021905
Osceola, Neb.-31.001.081912
Prescott, Ark.-9.041.981918

Note: Temperatures are in degrees Fahrenheit.

According to experts, climate change has pushed the extremes of temperature ranges around the world.

“What were hot days in the past are becoming more common,” Dr. Rohde said. “What were very, very hot days in the past are now two or three times more common than they used to be.”


Data in the United States was obtained from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN), an integrated database maintained by NOAA that contains daily climate summaries from land surface stations. The data was processed and analyzed with BigQuery.

The GHCN daily dataset acts as the official weather record of the United States, and it has been validated for spatial and temporal consistency across measurements. Daily observations that failed any quality checks were excluded, such as measurements that far exceed the lowest or highest temperatures ever recorded on earth.

A historical record is defined as the hottest or coldest temperature ever recorded up to that date. Only the hottest or coldest record for a particular year is compared. Other records in the same year, like, for example, during an extended heat wave, are excluded.

For every historical record, only stations that have collected a minimum of 30 years of data are used. Further, each station included in our analysis is required to have collected data for a minimum of half of its life span.

To compute historical records for cities, stations were aggregated to incorporated places as defined by the U.S. Geological Survey. Within each area, data across stations is treated as a unified measurement for calculating historical records. Records may differ slightly from other aggregated sources based on the specific regions and stations considered.

Here are some “ET’s” from Tuesday:

Here is more climate and weather news from Tuesday:

(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. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(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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