Dear Diary. 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: U.S. Average Temperature Spring Forecast
Dear Diary. Winter went by very quickly, or at least it seemed like it did. Except for one non-historic but big cold wave in February I dubbed Höðr (a Norse winter god), the winter of 2021/22 was very mild. If you live from the Great Lakes into New England, it was typical, though. I know here in Atlanta we had one very light snow during January that barely managed to make the ground white on a Sunday, which didn’t even manage to close schools the following Monday. Usually, kids get at least one snow day per year from wintry weather around my patch of the planet, but they did not have one this winter season. The big Blizzard of 1993 did occur on March 12th, but looking at meteorological models, spring has already sprung in the Deep South with no hints at any more white stuff falling from the skies.
Anyway, welcome to boreal or meteorological spring if you live in the United States, or the three months that are March, April and May. It’s time for me to make another attempt at a forecast for average seasonal temperatures in the U.S. This forecast will be very broad and not specific for any one state comprising the continental United States (or lower 48 states).
So how will boreal Spring 2022 stack up compared to long term temperature averages across the United States? Will we continue to see the climate crisis signature of warmer than average conditions? Let’s try to make a forecast as usual at the start of a new season.
So how did the forecast work out for Winter 2021/22? Here is a link to the post for that forecast:
By March 7th the National Center for Environmental Information will finish their assessment for Winter 2021/22, so our verification is not complete as of December 1st. Let’s do fill in ranking numbers with 1 being the coldest and 127 warmest for a verification for 2021 months through December and 128 for 2022, which have already been assessed:
Here are my two cents for a broad, rough forecast for the U.S. for Spring 2022, which I guarantee to be warmer than this past winter, of course, as the amount of daylight increases across the Northern Hemisphere. First, I like to look at water temperature anomalies surrounding North America just before the start of a season to get a sense of how much potential heat can be added to the atmosphere across the continent. Here is what we see:
Water temperatures are mainly above average across the U.S. East and Gulf coasts, but cooler than average across the West Coast. We also see a healthy, cool La Niña across the equatorial Pacific. These anomalies have not changed much since the beginning of winter. The way they have behaved during the winter leads me to believe that they will continue to have a positive effect on temperatures.
Second, I like to look at the strength of the Hudson Bay low or polar vortex at the start of any season:
This time around we see a fairly decent cold low right over Hudson Bay. This leads me to believe that the Upper Midwest and New England will continue to see near average temperatures. Meteorological models look warm for the southern 2/3rds of the country through mid-March. Overall, what we see here should produce slightly above average conditions for the lower 48 states.
Here is the National Weather Service forecast for Spring 2022:
I can’t disagree much with their assessment for this spring, especially after noting what has been happening with La Niña and the Hudson Bay Low. The NWS Outlook for the Upper Midwest and Northeast might be a bit too toasty, though.
Overall, Spring 2022 will probably verify above average looking at trends from the rest of the planet.
Last, we can get another clue looking at prior National Center for Environmental Information ranking and temperature record count data. For this I like to drag out that “Record Scoreboard” (updated through 2/24/2022):
After seeing a record warm December, we have seen a cooling trend since the start of the new year. Record totals will be about even for February once the last four days are processed by NCEI. It looks like March will reverse this trend, though. It’s cringeworthy to think that once we see another strong El Niño these cool months will be all warm with blue colors disappearing from my charts.
I’m predicting that at least two out of the three spring months should be above average. Either April or May might see a colder than average ranking below 64, but of course I can’t tell which one. All three spring months may very well rank above average. (Here is the link to avg. rankings per year for the lower 48 states since 1895):
Not all seasons in the near future will see above average temperatures, but seasonal forecasters are beginning to ”chuck it,” discounting colder than average scenarios due to carbon pollution.
Again, here are all seasons ranked for the last decade:
Here is my bottom-line forecast for Spring 2022:
“I think that this winter will be ranked above average. Carbon pollution is definitely making below average seasons rarer. I’m going to forecast that the Spring 2021/22 ranking will be around 100 + or – 10, with above average confidence given all of the factors on this post. Given the forecast anomalous warmth, more serious climate crisis events, such as severe flooding, will be quite likely this spring.“
My forecast for Winter 2021/22 of a ranking of 110 was probably too cool, but we will see in a few days.
Notice that the past six out of seven springs had a ranking at or above 103. My spring forecast for 2022 is similar to that of most of the last ten springs except that of 2019.
As of 2022 the top ranking for any month or season would be 128 since climatological rankings for the United States started in the year 1895. Carbon pollution is definitely making below average seasons rarer. As stated, I’m going to guess that spring of 2021 gets ranked around 100 + or – 10, and with above average confidence given all of the factors in this post.
We will see how this forecast pans out around June 7th, 2022.
Here is some February 2022 climatology:
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:
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”