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: U.S. January 2024 Record Scoreboard and Climatological Review
Dear Diary. It’s time once again for our monthly climatological review. Here on this site, we usually present monthly summaries near the 8th of each month, and each is available by clicking the link below:
January 2024 using 1901-2000 mean data got ranked by the National Center for Environmental Information for the lower 48 states as 48th warmest, or 83rd coolest since records began being kept in 1895 at +1.59°F(+0.88°C) above average.
January 2024 had big swings in temperature regimes. The first three months had record chill in the western two thirds of the country. It was frigid enough to produce 183 all-time cold record reports. The last week of the month had record warmth, mainly across the West, Midwest and Northeast.
You can check out record totals for yourself on my NCEI record archive, which I will be updating later this month with the latest numbers:
I’m also keeping tabs on record report totals to verify a scientific study I helped to complete in the decade of the 2000s. We’ll eventually see how skewed ratios of record warm to cold reports get by the year 2100, which the study mentions as 50-1 for DHMX vs. DLMN:
Brand new for 2024: I’ve started to add NCEI anomalies (F° departure from 1901-2000 data) on my record scoreboards. I’d like these record scoreboards to be a quick and dirty reference tool and a template for future NCEI record site graphics.
DHMX= Daily High Max Reports. DLMN= Daily Low Min Reports. DHMN= Daily High Min Reports. DLMX=Daily Low Max Reports.
Totals are record reports for the entire United States including all territories minus those from Alaska. I’ve subtracted those from Alaska to get a better representation of what has occurred across the lower 48 states in association with lower 48 state rankings.
Bold red, blue, or purple colored months, such as December 2023 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 129 and 1 being the coldest as of 2024. 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 (under tabs in each file) such that values of 54 to 74 are black representing neutral months or years (+ or – 10 from the average ranking of 64).
This is one instance in which record count data did not match up well with lower 48 state temperature averages since cold record totals outweighed warm totals even though we statistically had an above average month for the CONUS during January 2024.
January 2024 had approximately a 1 to 2 ratio of record DHMX to DLMN individual record counts, so the color I used for this month was blue on the top chart.
January 2024 had approximately a 1 to 1 ratio of record DHMN to DLMX individual record counts, from the warmest December on record, so the color I used for this month was black on the bottom chart.
Due to climate change, we are seeing fewer blue colors on these Record Scoreboards with time.
As stated, the average temperature lower 48 state ranking for January 2024 was 83, which was colored red since it was the warmer than average.
I color rankings of +10 to -10 from the average ranking for the lower 48 states of 64.5 black, indicating that these are near average temperature wise. The top warmest ranking for 2024 would be 129 since rankings began in 1895.
We are seeing that February 2024 has gotten off to a mild start, but meteorological models forecast a cooling trend going well into February, so I expect to see another above average month, but one that is not historically warm.
Here is much more detailed climatology for January 2024 as complied by NOAA:
The arctic air mass from January 14–18 broke nearly 2,500 daily minimum temperatures county records from the Northwest to the Lower Mississippi Valley.
On January 22–25, heavy rainfall brought more than a month’s worth of rain and life-threatening flooding to parts of Texas and Louisiana.
January 2024 was the 10th-wettest January on record for the nation, and temperature ranked in the middle third of the historical record for the month.
The average temperature of the contiguous U.S. in January was 31.8°F, 1.6°F above average, ranking in the middle third of the 130-year record. Generally, January temperatures were above average from the Carolina Coast to the Northeast and across parts of the West Coast, central Rockies, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, with below-normal temperatures extending from parts of the Northwest to the Gulf of Mexico. Wisconsin had its 10th-warmest January on record.
The Alaska statewide January temperature was 2.9°F, 0.7°F above the long-term average, ranking in the middle third of the 100-year period of record for the state. Near-normal temperatures were observed across much of the state with above-normal temperatures observed in parts of the North, West and the Aleutians. Below-normal temperatures were observed in parts of the Interior and East.
January precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was 3.18 inches, 0.87 inch above average, ranking as the 10th-wettest January in the historical record. Precipitation was above average across much of the eastern U.S. and in parts of the West. Massachusetts and Connecticut ranked third wettest. Conversely, precipitation was below average from parts of the northern Rockies to portions of the Upper Midwest and in parts of the Southwest and coastal Carolinas. North Dakota had its 10th-driest January on record for this period.
Alaska’s average monthly precipitation ranked in the middle third of the historical record. Precipitation was below average across much of the state, while above-normal precipitation was observed in parts of the southeast Interior, Panhandle and the Aleutians during the month.
Other Notable Events
An arctic air mass brought record-breaking cold temperatures and snow to much of the contiguous U.S. during mid-January:
The mid-January arctic air mass dropped temperatures to 20 to 35°F below normal over parts of the northern and central Plains, while heavy snow fell over portions of the Great Lakes and the Northeast. The lowest temperature in the country occurred in Briggsdale, Colorado, with a low temperature of −35°F the morning of January 16.
Heavy snow fell over much of the Northeast, while New York City reported over an inch of snow for the first time in nearly two years on January 16.
Nashville received over six inches of snow on January 15—more than an entire winter’s worth of snow for the city.
A powerful bomb cyclone brought cold temperatures, strong winds and heavy snow to portions of the Northwest on January 8–10, resulting in the Seattle NWS issuing the first blizzard warning in over 11 years for the region.
Historic snowfall continued across portions of Alaska. Anchorage has received over 100 inches of snow since October—the snowiest water year (October 2023–September 2024) to date. In Juneau, the airport received more than 76 inches of snow in January, the highest January total on record and second highest monthly total.
According to the January 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, about 23.5% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down about 9.5% from the beginning of January. Drought conditions expanded or intensified across northern parts of the Rockies and Plains and in parts of the Northwest, Southwest and Puerto Rico this month. Drought contracted or was reduced in intensity across much of the Great Plains to the East Coast, parts of the Northwest, Southwest and Hawaii.
Above-average temperatures are favored to impact northern portions of the U.S. in February while precipitation is likely to be above average across portions of the southwestern U.S. and Southeast Coast. Drought is likely to persist across portions of the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Visit the Climate Prediction Center’s Official 30-Day Forecasts and U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook website for more details.
Significant wildland fire potential for February is above normal across Puerto Rico. For additional information on wildland fire potential, visit the National Interagency Fire Center’s One-Month Wildland Fire Outlook.
This monthly summary from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making. For more detailed climate information, check out our comprehensive January 2024 U.S. Climate Report scheduled for release on February 13, 2024. For additional information on the statistics provided here, visit the Climate at a Glance and National Maps webpages.
Here are more “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 brand-new January 2024 climatology:
Here is More Climate News from Thursday:
(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.)
More from the Weather Department:
Today’s News on Sustainable Energy, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:
More on the Environment and Nature:
More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:
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