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 (www.weatherbook.com). 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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