NYC Monthly Summary: August 2015

It was hot in New York City this August. Everyday produced a high temperature above 80°F and eight days saw the mercury climb to 90°F or higher, which is twice the average number for August. Additionally, the month brought the city its first official heat wave in two years. With overnight lows also running mostly above normal, the city’s mean temperature for the month was 79°F, which is 3.8°F above average. This makes August 2015 the city’s 3rd warmest August on record.

On the precipitation side of things, August was very dry in the Big Apple. All told, the city received a mere 2.35 inches of rain in Central Park, which is 2.09 inches below average. On the latest report (8/25) from the US Drought Monitor, the NYC area is listed as “abnormally dry”.

Aug_temps

July 2015: Warmest Month on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with July 2015 marking not only the warmest July on record, but the warmest month ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.86°F, which is 1.46°F above the 20th century average. It surpassed the previous record set in 1998, which was also an El Niño year, by 0.14°F.

July 2015 also marked the 39th consecutive July that our global temperature was above its long-term norm. NOAA says that July – which is climatologically the planet’s warmest month – has been getting hotter over the years. Records show that the temperature for the month is currently increasing at an average rate of 1.17°F per century.

For the oceans, the globally averaged sea surface temperature for the month was 1.35°F above the 20th century average of 61.5°F.  That is the highest departure on record for any month. According to NOAA, the ten highest monthly departures from average for ocean temperatures have all occurred since April 2014.

While heat dominated most of the planet in July, some places were particularly warm. Heat waves in Europe pushed temperatures to record levels across the region. In fact, it was the warmest July on record for both Austria and Spain. Here in the contiguous US, temperatures were slightly warmer than average, but no state set a new record high. This difference highlights the fact that climate change is a complex global phenomenon that involves much more than what is happening in our own backyards.

Year to date, the first seven months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

First Heat Wave in NYC Since 2013

It’s official! We’re having a heat wave in New York City.

While we have hit the 90°F mark a few times already this summer, this is the first real heat wave of the season. Actually, it is the first official heat wave in the Big Apple since 2013.

The threshold for what constitutes a heat wave varies by region, but here in the NYC area it is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures reaching 90°F or higher. In Central Park, the temperature reached 92°F on Saturday, 93°F on Sunday, and today it climbed to 95°F – tying the record high for the date.

When factoring in the high levels of humidity these past few days, the heat index felt like it was near 100°F. While these conditions are oppressive, they can also be dangerous. Both a heat advisory and air quality alerts were issued for the city.

For most of the summer, temperatures have been running slightly above average in NYC, but it is interesting to note that there has not been much extreme heat. To date, we have only had ten days with readings at or above 90°F. On average, we typically see fifteen for the season.

June 2015: Warmest June on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with June 2015 marking the warmest June ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.48°F, which is 1.58°F above the 20th century average. It surpassed the previous record set last year by 0.22°F and marked the fourth highest monthly departure from average for any month on record.

June was also the third month this year to break its monthly temperature record, joining  March and May. The other months of 2015 each posted readings that ranked in their top five warmest.

For the oceans, the globally averaged sea surface temperature for the month was 1.33°F above the 20th century average of 61.5°F.  That is the warmest reading on record for any June, eclipsing the previous record set just last year. It also tied with September 2014 as the highest monthly departure from average for any month.

While moderate El Niño conditions  – a natural climate pattern that boosts oceanic and atmospheric temperatures – played a role in June’s record heat, it does not tell the whole story. The long-term trend of human-caused climate change was also a key factor.  NOAA reports that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2000 and they were not all El Niño years.

Year to date, the first six months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

May 2015: Warmest May on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued to rise last month. In fact, May 2015 was the warmest May ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 60.17°F. That is 1.57°F above the 20th century average. The previous record was set last year. NOAA also said the May 2015 global temperature “ties with February 1998 as the fourth highest monthly departure from average for any month on record. The two highest monthly departures from average occurred earlier this year in February and March.”

While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm. Here in the US, five states – Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – each had a record warm May.

Rising ocean temperatures, according to NOAA, helped fuel the month’s record warmth. The global sea surface temperature for May was 1.30°F above the 20th century average of 61.3°F.  That is the warmest on record for any May surpassing the previous record set just last year. It should be noted, however, that moderate El Niño conditions were present across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean last month.

Year to date, the first five months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

May 2015: Wettest Month Ever Recorded in US

When it rains, it pours – this old adage was literally proven to be true last month. With national weather data dating back to 1895, May 2015 was the wettest month ever recorded in the contiguous United States.

According to NOAA, an average of 4.36 inches of rain fell across the lower 48 states, which is 1.45 inches above average. The vast majority of this impressive total came down in the southern plains. Colorado experienced its wettest May on record. Texas and Oklahoma each had their single wettest month ever, with rain totals that were more than twice their respective long-term averages.

For people living on the either the west or east coasts of the country, this news may come as a bit of a surprise. California continues to be plagued by a devastating drought and many states along the eastern seaboard saw drier than average conditions for the month with six states recording a top-ten driest May.

While the torrential rain in the south central US caused deadly and destructive flooding this spring, it also abruptly ended the region’s multi-year drought. Nationally, the latest report from the US drought monitor shows that only 24.6% of the country is in some form of drought. That is down from 37.4% at the end of April. It is also the smallest national drought footprint since February 2011.

There were many factors that contributed to May’s excessive rainfall, including El Nino – a natural oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon that tends to bring wet weather to the southern part of the country. However, the National Climate Assessment, a US government report that came out last year, says that climate change has caused heavy rain events to become heavier and more frequent across most of the US. Experts expect this trend to continue, but as we saw last month the distribution of rainfall is not likely to be equal.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

NYC Monthly Summary: May 2015

May was unusually warm and dry in New York City this year.

With 26 out of 31 days posting above average highs, including 18 days with readings in the 80s, May felt more like summer than spring. Overnight lows were also well above average throughout most of the month. All together, the city’s mean temperature for the month was 68.5°F, which is 6.1°F above average.  That makes May 2015 the city’s 3rd warmest May on record.

In terms of precipitation, May was exceptionally dry. Coming on the heels of a parched April, the city, according to the latest report (5/28) from the US Drought Monitor, is currently in a state of moderate drought. All told, the city received a mere 1.86 inches of rain in Central Park. Of this meager total, 1.46 inches fell in a single day – the last day of the month – and caused localized flash floods. May, on average, typically brings NYC 4.19 inches of rain.

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Warmest March on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued to rise last month. In fact, March 2015 was the warmest March ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report released on Friday by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 56.4°F. That is 1.53°F above the 20th century average. The previous record was set in March 2010. NOAA also said, “The March 2015 global temperature was the third highest monthly departure from average on record for any month.”

For those living in the northeastern United States, this news may come as a bit of surprise. Many cities in the region, including New York City, experienced an unusually cold and snowy March this year. This difference in local and global conditions, however, highlights the fact that climate change is a complex phenomenon that involves much more than what is happening in our own backyards.

Year to date, the first quarter of 2015 (January, February, and March) was the warmest of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA/NCDC

Credit: NOAA/NCDC

NYC Monthly Summary: March 2015

March 2015 was a bit of a weather rollercoaster in New York City. We had highs ranging from a chilly 27°F to a relatively balmy 62°F. In the end though, with 23 out of 31 days posting below average readings, the cold won out. The extended cold snaps helped lower the city’s mean temperature for the month to 38.1°F, which is 4.4°F below normal. That makes March 2015 the coldest March the city has seen in 31 years.

In terms of precipitation, March 2015 was unusually snowy. In fact, according to the National Weather Service, it was NYC’s 6th snowiest March on record. The city measured 18.6 inches of snow in Central Park, which is a staggering 14.7 inches above average. We even had snow falling on the first day of spring.

Rainfall was also abundant. The city received 4.72 inches, which is 0.36 inches above average for the month.

Credit: The Weather Gamut.

Credit: The Weather Gamut.

Winter 2014-15: Warmest on Record for Planet Earth

Looking back at the winter of 2014-2015, conditions here in the northeastern United States were exceptionally cold and snowy. Globally, however, it was a record warm season!

According to a recent report from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the meteorological winter of 2015 (December, January, and February) was the warmest winter ever recorded on this planet. Earth’s combined average temperature for the season – over both land and sea surfaces – was 55.22°F. That is 1.42°F above the 20th century average.  It surpassed the previous record set in the winter of 2006-07 by 0.07°F.

Rising ocean temperatures, according to NOAA, helped fuel the season’s record warmth. Between December and February, the average global ocean surface temperature was 61.67°F, which is 0.97°F above average and the third highest ever recorded for the three month period.

In the contiguous United States, this past winter was the 19th warmest on record with an average temperature of 34.3°F. That is 2.1°F. above the 20th century average. NOAA says the record warmth in the West outweighed the cold in the East.

While the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are warming overall, this winter’s temperature anomalies (both above and below average) highlight the fact that climate change is a complex global phenomenon that involves much more than what is happening in our own backyards.

Year to date, 2015 is off to a record warm start. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Image Credit: NOAA/NCDC

Temperature Anomalies for Dec 2014 through Feb 2015. Image Credit: NOAA/NCDC

Image Credit: NOAA/NCDC

One of the only cold spots this winter was the northeastern US. Image Credit: NOAA/NCDC