The Climate Lottery: Fall 2021 Contest

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 climate change conscious 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 Fall 2021 will be posted on or shortly after December 6th, 2021 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 Summer 2021 (JUN, JUL, AUG) were 127/112/114 with a Power Ball number of 127 for the season, meaning that Summer 2021 was the warmest summer in recorded history for the United States…and yes historic.

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. Summer 2021 turned out to be exceptionally above average, temperature wise, for most of the United States. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery” pick one number between 1 and 127 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 127 being the highest possible ranking) for September, October and November 2021. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for the fall season as a whole between 1 and 127. 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. Because 2021 is the 127th year that the National Center for Environmental Information has been ranking years since 1895, all months for 2021 will have a warmest ranking of 127. Monthly rankings for 2021 will have a range from 1 to 127 with the coldest ranking being the number 1.

Please give your picks to Guywalton10@gmail.com or in the comments section at the end of this post before October 5th, 2021. If you wait until just before October 5th to make your picks you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for September will be and also a heads-up guess for October. All data can be found at the National Center for Environmental Information site noted here:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/national/rankings/110/tavg/202005

The Power Ball (or overall National Center for Environment Information) number for Summer 2021 for the lower 48 states was 127, which was the hottest ranking and well above the average ranking of 63, for the lower 48 states. No other summers were warmer, although that of 1936 cane very close. 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 Summer 2021, which was ranked as warmest or 127th coldest (or a Powerball ranking of 127):

June - August 2021 Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

There were no below average states. The warmest conditions relative to average occurred in the West where most states saw their hottest summer on record. The coolest states relative to average were in the southeast and south-central states..

The following is a breakdown of each month for Summer 2021. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 127.

In June the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 112 (out of 127): 

June 2021 Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

Summer started out torrid across the West and Northeast due to historic heatwaves. Seattle, Washington shot up to a ridiculous 108°F during the month, for example. No one state had cooler than average conditions.

In July the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 115 (out of 127):

The West continued to see record warmth as drought tightened its grip across that region of the country. The south-central states had a cool July relative to average.

In August the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 114 (out of 126):

August 2021 Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The West finally had a relatively cooler third month of the summer. The Northeast saw a historically hot month. Most of the rest of the country sweltered in hotter than average conditions.

The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” from 2012-2021:

The average ranking for 2021 is 63.5 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 127. I have color coded all well below average temperature rankings for this post at or below 43 blue and all those well above temperature rankings at or above 83 red, with rankings + or – 20 from the mean value of 63 black for near average temperature rankings. 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 2020 was 122, meaning that 2020 was the sixth warmest year on record for the lower 48 states, for example. 

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 Summer 2021- 127/112/115 P.B.127:

Notice that since the start of 2012 only two out of the last thirty-nine seasons have been well below average or “blue.” Thirty out of thirty-nine seasons since 2012 have been “red” or well above average. Summer 2021 definitely adds to our warm stats and was also 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, safe fall.

Guy Walton…”The Climate Guy”