Human Induced Climate Change Experiment

Home | Resources | Archives |Contact Us


Warmest Spring

Human Induced Climate Change Experiment

U.S. experiences second warmest May, hottest spring on record

Lower 48 also experienced record warm year-to-date and twelve-month periods

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during May was 64.3°F, 3.3°F above the long-term average, making it the second warmest May on record. The month’s high temperatures also contributed to the warmest spring, warmest year-to-date, and warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.

The spring season’s (March-May) nationally-averaged temperature was 57.1°F, 5.2°F above the 1901-2000 long-term average, surpassing the previous warmest spring (1910) by 2.0°F.

Precipitation totals across the country were mixed during May, with the nation as a whole being drier than average. The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 2.51 inches was 0.36 inch below average. The coastal Southeast received some drought relief when Tropical Storm Beryl brought heavy rains to the region late in the month.

Note: The May/Spring Monthly Climate Report for the United States has several pages of supplemental information and data regarding some of the exceptional events from the month and season.

Significant U.S. Climate Events for May/Spring 2012
Significant climate events for May/Spring 2012. Click to enlarge, or click here for the National Overview.

U.S. climate highlights — May

  • Warmer-than-average temperatures occurred across all parts of the contiguous U.S., except the Northwest, during May. Twenty-six states had May temperatures ranking among their ten warmest.
    May 2012 Statewide Temperature Ranks Map
    May 2012 Statewide Precipitation Ranks Map May 2012 Statewide Temperature (top) and Precipitation (bottom) ranks
  • Precipitation patterns across the contiguous U.S. were mixed during May. The Eastern Seaboard and Upper Midwest were wetter than average. North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota had May precipitation totals among their ten wettest. Dry conditions prevailed across the Mid-Mississippi River Valley, Southern Plains and the Interior West with Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nevada and Utah having a top ten dry May.
  • Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall near Jacksonville, Fla., on May 28, bringing beneficial rainfall to parts of the drought-stricken Southeast. Beryl occurred on the heels of Tropical Storm Alberto, which occurred offshore the Carolinas, marking the third time on record that two tropical cyclones reached tropical storm strength during May (prior to the start of June 1 hurricane season) in the North Atlantic basin. (click for a table of all known pre-season tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic)
  • Ongoing drought, combined with windy conditions, created ideal wildfire conditions across the Southwest. The Whitewater-Baldy Fire complex in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico charred over 210,000 acres by the beginning of June. It surpassed 2011′s Las Conchas Fire as largest wildfire on record for the state.
  • According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of May 29th, 37.4 percent of the contiguous U.S. experienced drought conditions, a slight decrease from 38.2 percent at the beginning of May. Drought conditions improved across the coastal Southeast, the Southern Plains, Northeast and Upper Midwest while they deteriorated for parts of the Mid-South and Southwest.

U.S. climate highlights — Spring (March-May)

  • The nationally-averaged spring temperature of 57.1°F was 5.2°F above the long-term average. With the warmest March, third warmest April and second warmest May, Spring 2012 marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on recordfor the contiguous United States.
    May 2012 Statewide Temperature Ranks Map
    May 2012 Statewide Precipitation Ranks Map May 2012 Statewide Temperature (top) and Precipitation (bottom) ranks
  • Spring was drier than average for the contiguous U.S. as a whole, with a national precipitation total of 7.47 inches, 0.24 inch below average.
  • Record and near-record warmth dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation during spring. Thirty-one states were record warm for the season and 11 additional states had spring temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Only Oregon and Washington had spring temperatures near normal.
  • Wetter-than-average conditions prevailed from the West Coast through the Northern Plains and into the Upper Midwest. Oregon was record wet and Minnesota and Washington were third wettest. The Intermountain West, Ohio Valley, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic were drier than average. Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Indiana, and Delaware had a top ten dry spring.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index, an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record-large 44 percent during the March-May period, over twice the average value. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures (81 percent) and warm nighttime temperatures (72 percent) covered large areas of the nation, contributing to the record high value.

U.S. climate highlights — Year-to-date

  • The January-May months were the warmest such period on record for the contiguous United States, with an average temperature of 49.2°F, 5.0°F above the long-term average. Twenty-nine states, all east of the Rockies, were record warm for the five-month period and an additional 14 states had temperatures for the period among their ten warmest.
    Year to Date Haywood Plot for St. Louis, Missouri
    Year-to-date average temperature (through May) for the 83 years on record at St. Louis, Missouri. 2012 in crimson. Please click for similar supplemental information for about 150 U.S. cities.
  • The year’s first five months also brought dry conditions to much of the East. The Southwest was drier than average while wetter-than-average conditions persisted for the Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest and the western Gulf Coast. The national precipitation total for the five-month period was nearly 1.0 inch below average.

12-month period (June 2011 – May 2012)

Ten Warmest 12-month consecutive Periods in U.S. Record
The ten warmest 12-month periods of the U.S. record. Click to enlarge, or click here for expanded information.
  • The June 2011-May 2012 period was the warmest 12-month period of any 12 months on record for the contiguous United States. The nationally-averaged temperature of 56.0°F was 3.2°F above the long-term average, surpassing the previous warmest 12-month period, set last month, by 0.4°F. The 12-month period encapsulated the second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter, and the warmest spring on record. Every state across the contiguous U.S. had warmer than average temperatures for the period, except Washington, which was near normal.
  • Each of the 12 months from June 2011 through May 2012 ranked among the warmest third of their historical distribution for the first time in the 1895-present record. The odds of this occurring randomly are 1 in 531,441.

Overview

The State of the Climate Report is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale. The report is comprised of the following sections:

  • Global
  • Global Analysis — a summary of global temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Upper Air — tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures, with data placed into historical perspective
  • Global Snow & Ice — a global view of snow and ice, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Global Hazards — weather-related hazards and disasters around the world
  • El Niño/Southern Oscillation Analysis — atmospheric and oceanic conditions related to ENSO
  • National
  • National Overview — a summary of national and regional temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Drought — drought in the U.S.
  • Wildfires — a summary of wildland fires in the U.S. and related weather and climate conditions
  • Hurricanes & Tropical Storms — hurricanes and tropical storms that affect the U.S. and its territories
  • National Snow & Ice — snow and ice in the U.S.
  • Tornadoes — a summary of tornadic activity in the U.S.
  • Synoptic Discussion — a summary of synoptic activity in the U.S.

Questions?

For all climate questions, please contact the National Climatic Data Center’s Climate Services and Monitoring Division:

Climate Services and Monitoring Division
NOAA/National Climatic Data center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: +1-828-271-4876
phone: +1-828-271-4800
email: ncdc.info@ncdc.noaa.gov
To request climate data, please E-mail:ncdc.orders@ncdc.noaa.gov
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • RSS Membrane Domain

    • Consequences Of Climate Change
      NASA scientists warn: Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss […]
    • Climate Change and the Presidental Action Plan
      The President’s Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution in America Reducing Carbon Pollution from Power Plants Power plants are the largest major source of emissions in the U.S., together accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas pollution. PROGRESS: In September 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed carbon pollution s […]
    • Collapse Of West Antarctica
      The collapse of the ice sheet in West Antarctica have raised concern about the rising sea level. “This is really happening,” Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s programs on polar ice, said. “There’s nothing to stop it now. But you are still limited by the physics of how fast the ice can flow.” “Today we […]
  • RSS Global Warming

    • Latest Mississippi River Delta News: July 25, 2014
      National vision needed to better reduce storm risk along Gulf, East coasts, new study says By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune. July 25, 2014. “The United States needs a national vision to manage risks from catastrophic storms…” (read more) 1,783 pounds of BP oil removed from seashore By Kimberly Blair, Pensacola New Journal. July 24, 2014. “One month a […]
    • Private Equity Interest in EDF Climate Corps at All-Time High
      By Michael ReadingSummer at EDF is always an exciting time as EDF Climate Corps fellows fan out and begin their placements at organizations across the country. This year we're thrilled to see a dozen fellows working with private equity firms and their portfolio companies, the highest number of such placements in a single summer. In total, EDF has now pl […]
    • A Major Step to Protect Californians from Gasoline Price Manipulation
      By Tim O'ConnorYou can’t turn on a TV or radio in California these days without hearing the oil companies and their industry associations complaining that the state can’t afford to move to cleaner fuels and predicting that cutting pollution from the transportation sector will drive up gasoline prices. What the oil industry’s $56 million political campai […]
  • RSS State Of The Climate

    • June 2014 National Overview
      Please see June 2014 National Overview report for more information.
    • June 2014 Global Analysis
      The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was the highest on record for the month, at 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F). The global land surface temperature was 0.95°C (1.71°F) above the 20th century average of 13.3°C (55.9°F), the seventh highest for June on record. The combined global […]
    • June 2014 Drought
      During June 2014, the North Pacific and North Atlantic subtropical high pressure centers exerted influence over the southern tier states, while a strong westerly flow in the upper-level circulation sent frequent weather systems rippling across the northern CONUS. Some of these weather systems moved slowly, dumping locally heavy rains across the Northern and […]
  • RSS Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of the Planet – News RSS Feed

    • Making science useful
      [[IMAGE||/system/image_uploads/main/Karen-Yuen_350px.jpg||Right||520||Karen Yuen||Karen Yuen, Science Data Applications Lead for the OCO-2 mission||||234||http://climate.nasa.gov/system/image_uploads/main/Karen-Yuen.jpeg]]Karen Yuen is the Science Data Applications Lead for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission and has been with NASA for over 12 […]
  • RSS Natural Hazards

  • Archives

  • Archives