The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary 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: The U.S. Is Chillier Than Average…This Happened Twice Before the Last Two Strong El Niño’s
Dear Diary. It’s time to put some of my record research to work to uncover more mysteries behind climate science. We are well into April, and some may notice that the United States has averaged quite chilly compared with the rest of the planet during the first part of 2023. We are certainly going to experience cool to cold times going into May looking at the forecast 500 millibar pattern. Many record lows should be recorded during the first few days of the month looking at the cold anomalous vortex setting up across the East:
As of April 25th, the coldest anomalies on the planet are located across North America:
So, has global warming stopped for the United States? Will we be protected from the hot horror story that has been going on across southern Asia this spring? Looking at trends, perhaps through 2024 if we are lucky but not during the rest of the 2020s. To delve into why, let’s get some clues looking at recent climate history.
As many of my readers know, we are about to experience another El Niño Pacific pattern, and by some accounts it could be a whopper. So, what happened in the year before the last strong El Nino’s across most of the United States? Why, very anomalously chilly weather (or close to long-term average temperatures) that left some climate scientists scratching their heads. Check out these three “Record Scoreboards:”
Bold red, blue, or purple colored months, such as January 2020 and June 2021, that have ratios of >10 to 1 daily warm low records or <1 to 10 daily warm to low records are either historically hot or cold, most of which have made news. NCEI rankings are for the lower 48 states with the warmest ranking since 1895 of average temperatures being 128 (for ties) or 129 and 1 being the coldest as of 2023. Blue colors represent cold months and red warm. Those months and years with counts close to a 1 to 1 ratio of highs to lows are colored black. All-time record hottest or coldest months and years are boldly colored in purple. NCDC rankings have been color coded such that values of 54 to 74 are black representing neutral months or years (+ or – 10 from the average ranking of 64).
The two sets of strong El Nino years in question here are those from 1997-1998 and 2014-2016. Note that during the prior year and first year of these events that the U.S. was relatively chilly during 1996-1997 and 2013-2014, which were the first two years since 1992 (when Mount Pinatubo chilled the planet when it blew its top) that we saw more daily record minimum reports than daily maximum reports. The meteorological term “polar vortex” came into vogue because of all of the chilly conditions during 2013-2014.
Also note on the above charts that the U.S. was quite toasty during the mid and late stages of these two El Niño’s from 1998-1999 and 2015-2016. Strong El Niño’s heat the planet’s surface substantially after a lag period lasting a few months. Indeed, it got so hot across the U.S. from 1998-1999 due to El Niño effects that I decided to start logging record counts on 1/1/2000 that culminated in a landmark record study paper in 2009.
Think of strong El Nino’s effect on the U.S. as being like seeing a big wave crashing on a beach. Just before the wave rushes toward its final destination, waters move away from the shore to meet the wave, then a second or two later the wave crashes, spilling water farther inland than from prior smaller waves. Similarly, just before heat crashes into the U.S. from a strong El Niño, any cold air rushes southward from Canada to meet incoming heat, which is nature’s way of trying to establish some sort of equilibrium, but the El Niño’s heat wins out producing a couple of very hot years for the North American continent. This effect seems to be happening only across North America, but why? Maybe climate scientists will come up with that answer in a few years.
So, looking at these trends, will the U.S. be spared getting scorched from 2023 into 2024 should a strong El Niño commence later this year? Statistically speaking, we might be witnessing a coincidence given that we only have two instances of U.S. cooling around the advent of a strong El Niño. If we do get a strong El Niño though, I’ll be looking to see if anomalously cold weather continues through 2024, which might give climate change naysayers fodder for the 2024 election. I cringe to think about what we might see, heat wise though, in 2025 if these trends are not an aberration.
Speaking of ENSO, Bob Henson and Dr. Jeff Masters have written a very interesting article in association with our changing climate. Check it out:
Here are some other “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:
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.)
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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”