Thursday, February 9, 2012

January 2012: America's 4th-Warmest on Record

First StepsThe DC area is on pace for its 3rd-warmest winter on record, but we're not the only region that's had a relatively balmy winter. It was America's 4th-warmest January on record:
The national average temperature in January was 36.3 degrees F, which is 5.5 degrees F above the long-term average and the warmest since 2006, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. The other warmer Januarys were in 1990 and 1953. The data is based on records dating back to 1895.

Nine states — Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming — had January temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Florida and Washington were the only states in the lower 48 with temperatures near average, and no state was cooler than average. [...]

According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average snow cover in January was 1 million square miles, which was 329,000 square miles below average. This marked the 3rd-smallest January snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record.
USA Today's article does not mention global warming in his write-up, despite the fact that 3 of America's 4 warmest Januarys have now come since 1990 and 2011 that the 9th-hottest year on record globally. Read more on the warm January at NOAA.gov.

I've compared man-made carbon pollution to a baseball player on steroids - turning a warm winter into a potential record breaker. The National Center for Atmospheric Research has a new video fleshing out the analogy:

 
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