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.

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