Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Cold Does It Have To Be?

As we close in on the last quarter of the year (and the end of baseball’s regular season), 2012 is on track to be the country's hottest year ever recorded. But as Yogi Berra says, “It ain't over 'til it's over.”

So how cold would it need to be for the rest of the year to miss the record?

Click on the image to see the high resolution version.  Image Credit: Climate Central.

Pretty darn cold. As you can see in the graphic above, based on temperature data from NOAA’s NCDC, if we have normal fall and winter temperatures every month for the rest of the year, we will clearly break the record (yellow line). If it stays warmer than average, we will break the record by even more (orange line). In order to miss breaking the record as the hottest year ever recorded in the United States, the months of September through December would each need to be among the coolest third of those months on record (green line).

Of course, such cool temperatures may be more possible than probable. Sort of like the Phillies or the Rays winning the World Series this fall.

So what is in store for the last quarter of the year?  The Climate Prediction Center has issued their forecast for the last three months of 2012.  If their forecast is correct, then much of the country will see warmer than normal conditions.

Click on the image for a larger view.  Image Credit: NOAA/CPC.

Furthermore, much of the country that is experiencing drought will continue to do so.  The outlook is for wetter than normal conditions from the Texas Gulf coast to North Carolina.  This is good news for South Carolina, but bad news for much of the drought areas.