Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19, 2012: A Desert Day in Lincoln, NE

At 3pm today (September 19, 2012) the temperature in Lincoln, NE hit 94 F with a desert level relative humidity of only 12%.  Very dry air resulted in crystal clear blue skies this afternoon over Lincoln (Hardin Hall, home of this web site in the photo below).

This is the 72nd day this year of temperatures reaching 90F or higher in Lincoln, NE.
This total of 72 days was exceeded by only two years, 1936 with 82 days and 1934 with 79 days.

The data archive for Lincoln extends from 1887 to 2012, which is 126 years of data.

Top Ten Years with
Days 90F or Higher

1936   82 days
1934  79 days
2012  72 days
1913  71  days
1983  68 days
1937  66 days
1980  65 days
2002  65 days
1939  64 days
1988  64 days

More typical of a desert climate, there was a large range in temperature today in Lincoln with a minimum temperature of 48 F and an afternoon maximum of 94 F.  The cause of this large range of temperature today is the fact that dry air heats and cools much faster than more humid air.

For more information about Lincoln's heat wave climatology, checkout these links:
Table: Lincoln's total number of days 90F or higher monthly and yearly 1887 to present
Table: Lincoln's total number of days 100F or higher monthly and yearly 1887 to present
Longest Streaks of 90F or Higher Temperature
Months AND Years With the Most Number of days with 90F or Higher TemperaturesHeat Wave climatology

Lincoln, NE Year to Date Warmest on Record

As of September 19, 2012, the average temperature for January 1-September 18, 2012
in Lincoln, NE, is tied for Warmest on Record.

Highest Average Temperature degrees FDays: 1/1 - 9/18 Years: 1887-2012
Value is average temperature in degrees F 

Rank  Value  Ending Date
1 59.8 9/18/2012, 9/18/1934 3 59.4 9/18/1921
4 58.4 9/18/1931, 9/18/1939 
6 58.2 9/18/1987
7 58.0 9/18/2000
8 57.9 9/18/1938, 9/18/2006, 9/18/1991
11 57.6 9/18/1933

The attached map shows the temperature departure from normal for the conterminous 48 states. Only one area, the Pacific Northwest is averaging below normal temperatures for the year to date.  looking ahead: The 10-14 day forecast for Nebraska has the region at near normal temperatures.  The extended long range outlook through the fall shows a tendency toward warmer than normal for the region. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer 2012 Global Temperatures 3rd Warmest on Record

From NCDC:
For the period June–August, the average global temperature across land and oceans was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average, making this the third warmest such period on record. It was the second warmest June–August in the Northern Hemisphere and ninth warmest in the Southern Hemisphere.
Considering global land surfaces only, June–August 2012 was record warm, at 1.03°C (1.85°F) above average. The highest anomalies occurred across parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including most of the contiguous United States and Canada, southern and eastern Europe, Kazakhstan, and eastern Siberia. Even with cooler-than-average temperatures in Alaska and northern Europe, the Northern Hemisphere observed its all-time warmest summer on record. And even with below-average temperatures across much of southern South America and northern and eastern Australia, the Southern Hemisphere observed its tenth warmest winter on record.
  • A warmer-than-average August, in combination with the hottest July and a warmer-than-average June, contributed to the third hottest summer on record for the contiguous United States, at 1.3°C (2.3°F) above average.

  • The average maximum (daytime) temperature for June–August (winter) across Australia was near normal, while the minimum (nighttime) temperature ranked as the third coolest on record, at 0.91°C (1.64°F) below average.
The average monthly global ocean temperature anomaly increased each month from June to August as ENSO-neutral conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to move toward potential El Niño conditions, making this the 11th warmest such period on record. Ocean temperatures were notably above average in the north central and north west Pacific Ocean, northeastern Atlantic Ocean and Labrador Sea, and cooler than average in the northeastern and central Pacific Ocean, the southern Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean near northern Australia.

Monday, September 17, 2012

August 2012 Global Temperatures 4th Highest on Record

According to NOAA scientists, the globally-averaged temperature for August 2012 marked the fourth warmest August since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 36th consecutive August and 330th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average August temperature was August 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.

Global Highlights (from NCDC)

  • The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for August 2012 was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F). This is the fourth warmest August since records began in 1880.

  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature for August 2012 was the second warmest August on record, at 0.90°C (1.62°F) above average, while the globally-averaged ocean surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record, at 0.52°C (0.94°F) above average.

  • ENSO-neutral conditions continued in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during August 2012. El Niño conditions are likely to emerge in September.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rain Returns to Eastern Nebraska, September 12, 2012

Rain Finally Returned to eastern Nebraska after a prolonged dry spell that started back in June 2012.

The following map shows the radar estimated 24-hour precipitation amounts for the event ending as of 5 am, September 13, 2012.

And the winner is....... Offutt Air Force Base just south of Omaha, NE with at storm total of 1.95 inches.

Here are some rain gauge measurements from the National Weather Service for the storm totals:

Offutt AFB 1.95 inches
Beatrice 1.80 inches
Lincoln 1.71 inches
Plattsmouth 1.62 inches
Omaha Eppley 1.39 inches
Falls City 1.33 inches
Nebraska City 1.08 inches

The 1.71 inches of precipitation in Lincoln brings their year 2012 total to 15.47 inches which is still 7.43 inches below the normal for this point in the year of 22.90 inches.
The following radar map shows the line of rain moving into Lincoln and Omaha during the evening of September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer 2012 Statewide Temperature and Precipitation Rankings

Summer 2012 Statewide Temperature and Precipitation Rankings.

Although the public is most familiar with the astronomical seasons and Summer would be defined as June 21 to September 20 (with some variation from year to year for the starting and ending dates), Meteorologists and Climatologists use a different definition termed "meteorological Summer" which extends from June 1 through August 31.  The following two maps show the statewide rankings for Summer 2012 temperatures and precipitation.  There are 118 years in the data set.  Rank number 1 in precipitation is the driest and 118 would be the wettest on record.  The states are shaded in color to quickly see where it was much above, above, below, much below normal as well as driest ever recorded and wettest ever recorded.  No shading indicates that it was near normal.  The shading on the temperature rankings map is the same process but substituting precipitation for temperature.

Summer 2012 was much above normal for temperatures for about half of the lower 48 states.  Nebraska had its 3rd warmest summer on record (116th coldest out of 118 years).  Nearby Wyoming and Colorado had their warmest summer on record (118th coldest out of 118 years).  None of the lower 48 states experienced below normal temperatures during summer 2012. 

The summer season's (June-August) nationally-averaged temperature was 74.4°F, 2.3°F above the 20th century average. Only the summers of 2011 (74.5°F) and 1936 (74.6°F) had higher temperatures for the Lower 48.

Summer 2012 was the driest on record for Nebraska, Wyoming and Washington State. However, in stark contrast the Gulf stes and southeastern states experienced above normal to much above normal precipititon.  Some of NCDC summary can be found after the two maps.

From NCDC:
  • Climate Highlights — Summer (June-August)
  • The warmer than average August, in combination with the hottest July and a warmer than average June, contributed to the third hottest summer on record for the contiguous United States. The summer season’s nationally-averaged temperature was 74.4°F, 2.3°F above the 20th century average. Only the summers of 2011 (74.5°F) and 1936 (74.6°F) had higher temperatures for the Lower 48.
  • The summer season was warmer than average for a large portion of contiguous United States, with the exception of the Southeast and parts of the Northwest. Sixteen states across the West, Plains, and Upper Midwest had summer temperatures among their ten warmest. Colorado and Wyoming each had their record hottest summer, with seasonal temperatures 4.4°F and 4.9°F above average, respectively. Much of the Northeast was warmer than average, where seven states from New Hampshire to Maryland had a top ten warm summer.
  • The nationally-averaged summer precipitation total of 7.39 inches, which was 0.86 inch below average, marked the 18th driest summer on record for the contiguous United States.
  • Drier-than-average conditions prevailed across much of the central U.S., from the Rocky Mountains to the Ohio Valley. Nebraska’s summer precipitation was 5.92 inches below its average of 9.46 inches, while Wyoming’s precipitation was 2.30 inches below its average of 3.97, marking the driest summer on record for both states. Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, and New Mexico had summer precipitation totals among their ten driest.
  • The summer was wetter than average across the West Coast, the Gulf Coast, and New England. Florida had its wettest summer on record, partially driven by Hurricane Isaac in August and Tropical Storm Debby in June. The total statewide summer precipitation of 30.58 inches was 8.85 inches above the long term average. In addition, both Louisiana and Mississippi had one of their ten wettest summer seasons.
  • The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), 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 more than one and a half times the average value during summer 2012, and marked the eighth largest USCEI value for the season. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures, warm nighttime temperatures, and extremely dry conditions, according to the Palmer-Drought Severity Index, covered large areas of the nation, contributing to the high USCEI value.

  • August 2012 Was Driest on Record for Nebraska

    Nebraska, Wyoming and Washington State experienced their driest August on record this past month (118 years of data).  Ironically, several Gulf states and southeastern states experienced an unusually wet month of August.  Hurricane and then Tropical Storm Issac was responsible for the well above normal precipitation along the gulf.
    From NCDC/NOAA:
  • The August nationally-averaged precipitation total of 2.59 inches was near the 20th century average, with regional variability across the nation.
  • Drier-than-average conditions stretched from the Pacific Northwest, through the Rockies, and into the Upper Midwest. Nebraska, Washington, and Wyoming each had their driest August on record. Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon each had a top ten dry August.
  • Hurricane Isaac made landfall along Louisiana’s coast on August 28th, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. The major impacts from the hurricane were storm surge along the Gulf Coast and heavy rainfall, both of which were driven partially by the storm’s slow motion and large size. Isaac contributed to Louisiana and Mississippi’s second wettest August on record, as well as Florida’s fourth wettest and Alabama’s eighth wettest. The beneficial rains across the region improved drought conditions across the Lower Mississippi River Valley
  • .
  • The warm and dry conditions across much of the West were associated with another month of ideal wildfire conditions. Over 3.6 million acres burned nationwide, mostly across the West. The acreage burned was nearly twice the August average and the most in the 12-year period of record.
  • According to the Palmer Drought Index, which goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, 55.1 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in moderate to extreme drought, a decrease of about 3 percent compared to last month. The percent area in severe to extreme drought increased to 39.0 percent, indicating that the drought has intensified. The 2012 values have been exceeded only by the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s.
  • According to the August 28, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), 62.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. (52.6 percent of the U.S. including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico) was experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, the same as the end of July. The percent area of the nation experiencing the worst drought category, exceptional drought, doubled from 3 percent of the contiguous U.S. at the end of July to 6 percent at the end of August.
  • Monday, September 10, 2012

    August 2012 Statewide Temperature Rankings

    NOAA: Contiguous U.S. experiences third hottest summer on record
    Warm and dry conditions continue in August with Isaac bringing heavy rain to Gulf Coast and some drought relief to the Midwest
                According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during August was 74.4°F, 1.6°F above the long-term average, marking the 16th warmest August on record. The warmer-than-average August, in combination with the hottest July and a warmer-than-average June, contributed to the third hottest summer on record since record keeping began in 1895.
    The statewide temperature average for Nebraska was near normal with a strong contrast across the U.S> from much above normal (Nevada warmest on record) to below normal from Indiana down to and along the Gulf Coast.
  • Climate Highlights — August 2012 (from NOAA/NCDC)
  • The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during August was 74.4°F, 1.6°F above the 20th century average, marking the 16th warmest August in a period of record that dates back to 1895.
  • Higher-than-average temperatures occurred across much of the West, where Nevada tied August 1934 as its warmest August on record, with a statewide temperature 4.0°F above average. Six additional states across the region had August temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Much of the Northeast was also warmer than average, where five states from Maine to Delaware had monthly temperatures among the ten warmest.
  • Much of the Central U.S. had near to below average August temperatures, with lower-than-average temperatures across the Ohio Valley and the Southeast.
  • Record breaking temperatures affected several parts of the country during August. There were over 4,200 daily warm temperature records broken or tied during August, and just over 2,000 daily cool temperature records broken or tied. Oklahoma City's Will Rogers International Airport broke and tied its all-time hot temperature record on three consecutive days, August 1st through 3rd. The temperature reached 112°F on August 1st and 2nd surpassing the previous record of 110° set in August 2011. The temperature reached 113°F on August 3rd.
  • Illustrating the Recent Rapid Reduction in Arctic Sea Ice Extent

    Illustrating the Recent Reduction In Arctic Sea Ice
    September 9, 2012:  Arctic Sea Ice has reached its minimum coverage for the year and it is a record low ice coverage.  The following map and text below the map tell an important story about the recent rapid reduction in sea ice extent in the Arctic.  Deke Arndt of the National Climatic Data Center prepared the map and text below the map.  The graph at the end of the post (from the National Snow and Ice Data Center) shows the current ice cover extent and compares it to the normal as well as previous minimum extent.

    During the average September in the late 20th Century, the sea ice in the Arctic would retreat to an annual minimum roughly the size as the contiguous U.S., but with Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana melted off. To get the size of today's sea ice, start with contiguous U.S., minus Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana ... then melt Florida, then melt Georgia, then melt Alabama, then melt Mississippi, then melt South Carolina, then melt North Carolina, then melt Tennessee, then melt Oklahoma, then melt Virginia, then melt West Virginia, then melt Kentucky, then melt Maryland, then melt Delaware, then melt New Mexico, then melt Arizona, then melt New Jersey, then melt Connecticut, then melt Rhode Island, then melt Massachusetts, then melt Maine, then melt New Hampshire, then melt Vermont, then melt New York, then melt Pennsylvania, then melt Ohio, then melt Indiana, then melt Illinois, then melt Missouri, then melt Wisconsin, then melt Iowa.


    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Lincoln, NE, Summer 2012 Heat Update

    Lincoln, NE hit 90F on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.  This is the 69th day this year for the temperature to reach 90F or higher.  This ranks Summer 2012 as the 4th most number of days with temperatures of 90F or higher for Lincoln.  Here is a listing of the top ten years:

    Top Ten Number of days with Temperatures
    90F or Higher for Lincoln, NE (126 years of data)
    1936   82 days
    1934   79 days
    1913   71 days
    2012   69 days
    1983   68 days
    1937   66 days
    1980   65 days
    2002   65 days
    1939   64 days
    1988   64 days

    The attached map shows the high temperatures from Texas into Southern Canada for Wednesday, September 5, 2012.  Note the cooler temperatures to the northwest of Nebraska.  These cooler temperatures are poised to head into our area Friday and Saturday of this week.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Lincoln, NE: 100F or Higher Temperatures, Summer 2012

    The attached map shows the total number of days 100F or higher for the U.S. this year (through August 31). 

    Lincoln, NE, hit 102F yesterday, Sept. 4. This was the 17th day this year of 100F or higher temps for Lincoln and the 11th greatest number of these occurrences (126 years of data).  The drought was a huge contributing factor to the large number of days with temperatures 100F or higher this summer.  Dry air can heat faster during the day and less energy is used at the surface to evaporate water also allowing temperatures to soar higher than normal.

    The Years with the Most Number of Days
    100F or Higher in Lincoln, NE (1887-2012):

    1936  41 days
    1934  39 days
    1913  29 days
    1901  25 days
    1947  22 days
    1974  20 days
    1935  19 days
    1940  19 days
    1988  18 days
    1980  18 days
    2012  17 days

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Lincoln, NE, Summer 2012 Climate Summary

    Lincoln, NE, Meteorological Summer 2012: Climate Summary

    Although Astronomical Summer (June 21-September 20) is more familiar to the public, meteorologists  and climatologists use the time period June 1 through August 31 to define "Summer".


    The average Summer 2012 Temperature in Lincoln, NE was 77.6 F which was the 16th warmest out of 126 years of data.  The table lists the warmest average Summer temperatures.  A cooler than normal month of August kept Summer 2012 from ranking higher on the table of warmest summers (see the table belwo the first map).

    As seen on the attached map, much of the High Plains Region experienced well above normal temperatures during Summer 2012.  The Western portion of Nebraska was more above normal than southeastern Nebraska (Lincoln).

    Warmest Average Summer Temperatures (Value = deg. F)
    Lincoln, NE, June 1-August 31, 1887 2012 (126 years)
    Rank Value Year
    1 82.0 1936
    2 81.8 1934
    3 79.3 1937, 1913
    5 79.0 1901
    6 78.8 1983
    7 78.6 1918
    8 78.5 1980
    9 78.4 1953
    10 78.2 2002
    11 78.1 1938
    12 78.0 1988

    13 77.8 1956
    14 77.7 1963, 1955
    16 77.6 2012, 1954, 1931


    The total Summer 2012 precipitation in Lincoln, NE was 4.20 inches, which was the 4th driest on record out of 126 years of data.  The table lists the top ten driest Summers on record for Lincoln, NE.

    Least Summer Precipitation (Value = inches)
    Lincoln, NE, June 1-August 31, 1887 2012 (126 years)

    Rank Value  Year
    1    2.84    1936
    2    3.69    1976
    3    4.08    1988
    4    4.20    2012
    5    4.53    1913
    6    4.82    1995

    7    4.91    1953
    8    5.11    1941
    9    5.38    1901
    10   5.46    1934


    Although the Summer 2012 three month total precipitation was ranked 4th driest, the two month time period of July 1 through August 31 was the driest on record for Lincoln.   

    Three was measurable precipitation on only 12 days during Summer 2012 in Lincoln, NE.  This is the least number of days with precipitation in the 126 years of data.  The following table shows the 10 Summers in Lincoln with the least number of days with measurable precipitation. 

    Number of days with measureable preciptiation:
    Lincoln, NE, Top ten least number of days

    Year   June   July   Aug.   Total
    2012      5         3       4         12
    1976      4         8       2         14
    1974      4         4       9         17
    1894    12         4       2         18
    1890      5         4      10        19
    1988      6         5        8        19
    1892      5         8        7        20
    1893      6         7        7        20
    1953      7         7        6        20
    1970      8         6        6        20

    As seen on the attached map, much of the High Plains Region experienced well below normal precipitation during Summer 2012.  Nebraska experienced some of the greatest negative departures form normal during the Summer of 2012.

    The following two maps show the temperature departures and precipitation departures from normal for Summer 2012 for the lower 48 states.


    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Lincoln, NE, Climate Summary: August 2012

    Lincoln, NE, August 2012 Climate Summary

    August 2012 in Lincoln was cooler than normal and 2nd driest on record.

    The well below normal temperatures mid August 2012 in Lincoln, NE, helped to lower the average August temperature to 74.3 F.  After 10 months in a row of above normal temperatures, (October 2011-July 2012) the average August 2012 temperature in Lincoln was 1.0 degrees below normal. Although August 2012 averaged below normal for Lincoln, the average August 2012 high temperature was 2.6 degrees above normal.  The average August 2012 low temperature was 4.6 degrees below normal resulting in the monthly average of highs and lows being below normal for the month.

    Average high temperature:
    August 2012: 89.4 F
    Normal: 86.8 F
    Departure from Normal: +2.6 F

    Average low temperature: 
    August 2012: 59.2 F
    Normal: 63.8 F
    Departure from Normal: -4.6 F

    Monthly average temperature:
    August 2012: 74.3 F
    Normal: 75.3 F
    Departure from Normal: -1.0 F

    Number of Days with the high temperature of 90F or higher:
    August 2012:  15 days
    Normal: 12 days

    Record low temperature tied on August 16, 2012: 49 F, first set in 1897
    Record low temperature on August 17, 2012: 44 F, Old record was 46 F set in 1943
    Record low temperature on August 18, 2012: 45 F, Old record was 47 F set in 1943

    Total precipitation:
    August 2012: 0.30 (2nd driest on record, 126 years of data))
    Normal: 3.48
    Departure from normal:  -3.18

    July 1 – August 31, 2012 precipitation:
    July combined with August 2012:  0.63 inches  ( driest on record with 126 years of data).
    The red line is the normal high and the blue line is the normal low. The top of each vertical bar is the high for the day and the bottom of each vertical bar is the low for the day.
    All data in this graph are from the National Weather Service and HPRCC data archives.