Friday, January 20, 2012

Mid-Winter 2012 Temperature Update: Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by Over 6 to 1

At the midpoint of meteorological winter (December-February), new high temperature records are outnumbering low temperature records in the U.S. by a ratio of 6.2 to 1, according to preliminary reports from the National Climatic Data Center. Thanks to an incredible ratio of nearly 34 to 1 in the first half of January, the seasonal ratio is the highest since the over 11 to 1 value last summer. The total count of 2545 new heat records for the first 6 weeks for winter outnumbers the total cold records in the last 6 months of 2011.

The preliminary analysis from NOAA/NCEP data for December 1-January 16 shows the warmest temperatures relative to average (as much as 8°C above) in western Canada, extending southeastward across most of the U.S. The only area in the country with substantially below-average temperatures includes New Mexico and southwestern Texas.

Images (click to enlarge):
- Monthly ratio of daily high temperature to low temperature records set in the U.S. for December 2010 through January 16, 2012, seasonal ratio for summer and fall 2011, winter 2011-2012 to date, and annual ratio for 2011 and 2010;
- U.S. temperature departure from climatological average, December 1, 2011 to January 16, 2012
CapitalClimate chart from NOAA/NCDC data, background image © Kevin Ambrose ( Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC's Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations. All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.
U.S. average temperature map from NOAA/NCEP via ESRL

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