Friday, March 30, 2012

Marching On to History: Albany's Warmest March in 193-Year Climate Record, By a Wide Margin

A gusty northwesterly breeze is bringing much more seasonable temperatures to Albany, New York as the month draws to a close, but March 2012 is going into the record books as the warmest in history by a wide margin. Official temperature records began in Albany in 1874, shortly after the formation of the U.S. Weather Bureau. Thanks to the Regents of the State University of New York and Dr. Philip Ten Eyck, however, monthly temperature records extend back to 1820. In the 192 years prior to 2012, there had been only one March with an average temperature over 44° (44.4° in 1859). With 2 days left in the month, the average through yesterday was an eye-popping 46.2°, nearly 2° above the old record and 11.6° above normal.

Following temperatures forecast to range from the low 30s to mid and upper 40s through tomorrow, the final March average is likely to dip to around 45.8°, still 1.4° above the old record. This would be the first time the March average has ever exceeded 45° at Albany.

Temperature records were set or tied on 8 days this month (old record and date in parentheses):
March  8  68 (66, 2000)
March 12 69 (67, 1890)
March 13 70 (tie, 1946)
March 18 69 (65, 1966)
March 19 78 (75, 1894)
March 19 48 (tie, 1983) [high minimum]
March 20 78 (74, 1903)
March 20 51 (49, 1903) [high minimum]
March 22 81 (80, 1938)
March 22 49 (44, 1949) [high minimum]
March 23 56 (53, 1938) [high minimum]
The 7 daily high temperature records now held by 2012 are nearly one quarter of the month's total and 5 more than the next highest years. Only one daily temperature record remains from as early as 1910.

Images (click to enlarge): Albany, New York March 2012 average temperature to date (TD) and projected final average (PROJ) vs. 10 previous warmest Marches; Number of Albany March daily temperature records set by year; CapitalClimate charts from National Weather Service data

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