46 F. average high for March 26.
23 F. normal high for January 6.
18 F. high temperature last year, on January 6, 2011.
January 12: date when temperatures "bottom out" in the Twin Cities, based on 1981-2010 weather data from the Minnesota State Climatology Office. We are 5 days away from what is (historically) the coldest day of the year.
10 minutes of additional daylight since the Winter Solstice, on December 21.
10 years. In only 10 of the last 120 years of weather records has Minnesota reported a 60-degree high anywhere in the state.
1. This is the first time in recorded history where a 60-degree high has been recorded anywhere in Minnesota during the first week of January. Source: MN State Climate Office.
Year Without A (real) Winter? It's probably wildly premature to even utter those words in private, much less public, but long-range guidance shows little or no chance of sustained, prolonged, arctic air through the 4th week of January. I know - I don't quite believe it either. Details below.
"For the first time in 30 years, a lack of snow has not allowed us to open the back bowls in Vail as of January 6, 2012, and, for the first time since the late 1800s it did not snow at all in Tahoe in December.” - from a Bloomberg article on the dire lack of snow impacting ski resorts nationwide. Photo above courtesy of bigskyresort.com.
"There has never been a 60-degree temperature recorded during the first week of January in Minnesota's modern climate record. The warmest temperature ever recorded in Minnesota during the first week of January is 59 degrees, occurring on January 7, 2003 in Amboy, MN. The warmest temperature ever recorded in MInnesota on January 5 is 57 degrees, recorded at Crookston in 1902. Reaching 60 degrees ANY time ANYWHERE in January is quite rare, occurring only 10 years of the 120 year modern record. The all-time record high temperature for any day in January is 69 degrees, occurring January 24, 1981 in Montevideo." - MN State Climate Office, as reported by the local NWS office.
January 6. 2011 vs. 2012. The map on the left shows snowcover a year ago; 10-15" on the ground in the metro with 20-30" snow reported over much of northern, central and western Minnesota. Compare that with the most recent snowcover map (right), showing a few inches over the MN Arrowhead. Data courtesy of NOAA.
74 F. at Philip, South Dakota. That breaks the old record of 46 in 2002.
63 F. at Aberdeen, South Dakota, shattering the old record of 46 in 1935. It's also the warmest temperature ever observed in Aberdeen during the month of January since weather records were started in the late 1800s.
One Amazing Map. 1158 records in one week? Most of these were record highs. Click on the Ham Weather interactive map showing all the details. I honestly can't remember seeing such widespread record highs in January in the 35 years I've been doing this. When meteorologists call this "historic January weather" they aren't exaggerating.
820: "The number of disasters around the world, exceeding the 630 average over 30 years. They caused $105 billion in insured losses, more than any other year because of the higher frequency and more insured property in risk-prone areas." - from an article on 2011 weather disasters in the Sun Sentinel newspaper below.
2011 Extremes. Too wet, too dry, too warm, too windy, too wild. 2011 was an historic year around the USA, as reported by the NCDC, the National Climatic Data Center: "The following are annual records broken or tied at selected stations for the year 2011, compiled from National Weather Service “Record Event Reports”. This list should be considered preliminary and incomplete; it covers only larger towns and cities, and final quality assurance has not been performed on the 2011 data. When the data are complete, the final number of stations with new annual records will likely be larger. A more complete list will accompany NCDC’s annual climate report, to be released January 19th, 2012."
Vail Resorts Struggle As Snowless Season Hits. The story from Bloomberg: "Vail Resorts Inc. (MTN) shares have fallen 15 percent since Dec. 23 as major ski trails were closed at the company’s mountain properties in the western U.S. because of a lack of snow. Visitors to the company’s resorts were down 15.3 percent compared to this time last year, Rob Katz, chief executive of the Broomfield, Colorado-based company, said in a statement. Lift ticket revenue was up 0.6 percent and revenue from ski school was up 0.9 percent, even though “very unusual” weather had reduced skier visits and the use of season passes, he said. “For the first time in 30 years, a lack of snow has not allowed us to open the back bowls in Vail as of January 6, 2012, and, for the first time since the late 1800s it did not snow at all in Tahoe in December,” Katz said in the statement."
Still Waiting. Here is the predicted 500mb map for January 23 (GFS), showing a continued upper level wind flow from the west, from the Pacific. In spite of a brief cold snap around January 17-18 I still don't see any significant risk of sustained, bitter cold through the 4th week of January. I'd say "amazing" again, but I'm getting way too repetitive. Let's settle for extraordinary. At this rate this may be as close as any of us will come to a Year Without A Winter.
$35.9 billion: The insured losses in 2011, which exceeds the $23.8 billion average for 2000 to 2010. That includes paid and projected losses.
552: The number of lives lost in tornado outbreaks in the Midwest and South, making it the deadliest year for U.S. tornadoes. There were 748 tornadoes observed in April.
8.3 million: The acres burned from wildfires in Texas.
$7 billion: Insured losses from Hurricane Irene, including about $2.7 billion covered by the federal government's flood insurance program.
820: The number of disasters around the world, exceeding the 630 average over 30 years. They caused $105 billion in insured losses, more than any other year because of the higher frequency and more insured property in risk-prone areas."
Wild Weather Hits Latin America. The story from AP: "CHIA, Colombia (AP) — From Chile to Colombia to Mexico, Latin America has been battered recently by wildfires, floods and droughts. For many witnessing the extreme weather in the region and around the world, the question that comes up again and again is whether climate change is playing a role. The response from experts: Probably. While leading climate scientists are unable to pin any single flood or heat wave solely on climate change, experts say the number of extreme weather events is increasing worldwide and the evidence suggests global warming is having an impact."
Debris From Japan Tsunami Washes Onto Cannon Beach, Yakutat, Alaska. From the National Weather Service in Alaska: "Debris from the Japanese Tsunami has washed up on Cannon Beach in Yakutat. These floats are believed to have come for an oyster farming operation. Photo by Jack Endicott."
Looks Like March. Mid to upper 40s, on the 6th day of January? Only 20-30 degrees above average today. Highs ranged from 39 at International Falls (down to 3" snow on the ground) to 45 at St. Cloud and Duluth (a TRACE of snow on the ground) to 46 in the Twin Cities and 48 at Redwood Falls.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy, well above average temperatures. Low: 25
Hanson Et Al: "Extreme Heat Waves....In Texas and Oklahoma In 2011, and Moscow In 2010, Were "Caused" By Global Warming. Joe Romm at Climate Progress has the details: “Climate dice,” describing the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons relative to climatology, have become progressively “loaded” in the past 30 years, coincident with rapid global warming. The distribution of seasonal mean temperature anomalies has shifted toward higher temperatures and the range of anomalies has increased. An important change is the emergence of a category of summertime extremely hot outliers, more than three standard deviations (σ) warmer than climatology. This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth’s surface in the period of climatology [1951-1980], now typically covers about 10% of the land area. We conclude that extreme heat waves, such as that in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, were “caused” by global warming, because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming. We discuss practical implications of this substantial, growing climate change."
Scientists Back "Significant Broadening" Of Climate Research Amid Tight Budgets. The story from CNN: "U.S. scientists want to expand research into climate change to focus on its social effects and ways to adapt to a changing planet, but tighter budgets may crimp those plans, the National Academy of Sciences reported Thursday. The 10-year plan reviewed by the academy represents a "significant broadening" of the federal Global Change Research Program, which includes researchers from across the U.S. government. Thursday's report by the academy's National Research Council generally supports the proposal but warned that researchers may have to overcome fiscal as well as scientific hurdles. "The proposed broadening of the program's scope from climate change only to climate change and 'climate-related global changes' is an important step in the right direction," the review committee concluded. But it cautioned that "in an era of increasingly constrained budget resources, those questions of how will become paramount."
Climate Scientist Spurned By Gingrich Laments "Politicization". The Hill has more details: "A week after GOP White House hopeful Newt Gingrich said he nixed plans for a chapter on climate change in his new book, the author of the chapter is lamenting the “politicization and polarization” of the issue. “I really, really deplore the politicization and polarization of this issue,” Katharine Hayhoe, a well-known climate scientist who had been tasked with writing a chapter on climate change for Gingrich’s new book on the environment, told The Guardian, a British newspaper. “There are these increasingly unprincipled attempts to polarize the science when the science is fact — like the sky is blue, the grass is green and the temperature of our planet is increasing.” Photo credit above: treehugger.com.