Warmest June on Record for Planet Earth

This past June ranked as the 33rd warmest for the United States. The average temperature for the Earth as a whole, however, soared to a record high for a second straight month.

According to a report released on Monday by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, June 2014 was the warmest June ever recorded for the entire planet.  Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.2°F.  That is 1.3°F above the 20th century average. June 2014 also marked the 352nd consecutive month that our global temperature was above its long-term norm.

Rising ocean temperatures, according to NOAA, helped fuel this record warmth. In fact, the June global sea surface temperature was 1.15°F above its long-term average of 61.5°F. That is the highest for any June on record and the highest departure from average for any month. Large parts of both the Pacific and Indian Oceans either hit record-high temperatures or posted readings that were significantly above normal.

The report also noted that, year to date, 2014 is currently tied with 2002 as the Earth’s third warmest year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

NYC’s First 90-Degree Day of the Year

Summer officially began last month, but the season’s heat is just now getting into full swing in New York City.

In Central Park today, the temperature soared to 91°F. That marks the city’s first 90° day of the year.   While readings in the 90s are not unusual for the Big Apple in July, they typically premiere earlier in the season. In fact, with records dating back to 1869 for Central Park, the NWS reports that only nineteen years have failed to produce a 90°F day before the end of June.

On average, according to the NWS, the city generally sees its first 90°F day by June 3rd. Its earliest was April 7, 2010 and its latest was July 26,1877. Last year, NYC’s first 90°F reading was on May 30th.

Warmest May on Record for Planet Earth

This past May was fairly warm across most of the United States, including here in New York City. The average temperature for the Earth as a whole, however, soared into the record books.

According to a report released on Monday by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, May 2014 was the warmest May ever recorded for the entire planet.  Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 59.93°F.  That is 1.33°F above the 20th century average. May 2014 also marked the 351st consecutive month that our global temperature was above its long-term norm.

The report also noted that four of the five warmest Mays on record have occurred in the past five years: 2010 (second warmest), 2012 (third warmest), 2013 (fifth warmest), and 2014 (warmest); 1998 holds fourth place. Additionally, it highlighted the fact that this past meteorological spring (March, April, and May) was the planet’s second warmest on record. For the same period, only 2010 was warmer.

Year to date, 2014 is currently ranked as the Earth’s fifth warmest year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

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Image Credit: NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center

The Great Lakes Finally Thaw

It is now June, the first month of meteorological summer, but it seems winter is only just coming to a close on the Great Lakes.

For the first time since November, according to NOAA, the Great Lakes are ice-free. This marks the latest total thaw on the lakes since record keeping began in the 1970s. Back in March, during one of the coldest winters the region has seen in decades, more than 92% of the Great Lakes were covered by ice. That was the second highest percentage on record.

While a recent string of warm days in the area helped to melt the lingering ice, the U.S. Coast Guard also played a key role. They have reported conducting over 2000 hours of ice-breaking operations throughout this past winter and spring.

Only recently thawed, water temperatures in the lakes are expected to remain rather chilly for most of the summer.

GreatLakes

After a frigid winter, the Great Lakes are finally ice-free. Image Credit: NOAA

NYC Monthly Summary: April 2014

April 2014 felt like a weather roller-coaster in New York City. We had highs that ranged from a chilly 47°F to a balmy 77°F.  All together, though, these extremes balanced each other out and produced an average monthly temperature of 52.3°F.  That is only 0.7°F below normal.

In terms of precipitation, April’s famous showers were intense this year. The city received a remarkable 7.85 inches of rain in Central Park. Of this impressive total, 4.97 inches fell in a single day – April 30th. According to the NWS, that is the 10th highest daily rainfall total on record for NYC. The Big Apple normally gets 4.50 inches for the entire month.

The city also received a trace amount of snow this April. While this is normally nothing to get excited about, it is worth mentioning as it came on the heels of our warmest day of the year so far. What a month of extremes!

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Graph Credit: The Weather Gamut

A Day of Drenching Rain in NYC

April is famous for its showers, but yesterday’s precipitation was extreme. Torrential downpours brought New York City more than a month’s worth of rain in a single day.

According to the NWS, 4.97 inches of rain was measured in Central Park. Not only is that a new daily record for the date, it was the 10th rainiest day ever recorded in NYC. On average, we normally get 4.50 inches of rain for the entire month of April.

Up until yesterday, the city’s rainfall total was running below average for the month. So, while the rain was beneficial for the area, the rate at which it came down and its extended duration caused a number of localized flooding problems.

Scientists say the frequency of extreme rain events like this one will increase as global temperatures rise and our climate changes.

Near Record Ice Cover on the Great Lakes

Persistent frigid temperatures this winter across the Mid-West and Northeast have caused many rivers and lakes to freeze.  These include the Great Lakes – the largest group of fresh water lakes on the planet.

According to NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 91.8% of the Great Lakes are currently covered with ice.  That is the second highest percentage on record.  The largest was 94.7% in 1979. On average, peak ice coverage each winter is roughly 51%.

This extensive ice cover has its pluses and minuses.  On one hand, it has reduced the amount of lake effect snow – the heavy precipitation produced when cold air blows across the expansive and relatively warm lake water.  When the lakes are frozen, moisture cannot be evaporated and this process shuts down.  On the other hand, it has slowed shipping traffic, which has economic impacts.  Also, given their massive size, the frozen lakes will likely keep regional temperatures cooler than average this spring.

While this year’s ice cover on the Great Lakes is near record-breaking, researchers say the ice extent varies annually and that there has been an overall decline since the early 1970’s.

Ice covers more than 90% of the Great Lakes. Image Credit: NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Ice covers more than 90% of the Great Lakes.                                                                                      Image Credit: NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

NYC Monthly Summary: February 2014

February is generally the snowiest month on the calendar for New York City, and this year it was extreme.  With 29 inches of snow accumulating in Central Park, it was the city’s second snowiest February on record.  First place belongs to February 2010, with 36.9 inches.  On average, we typically get 8.8 inches of snow for the entire month.

Rainfall was also abundant in NYC this February. We received 5.48 inches, which is 2.39 inches above average.

In terms of temperature, the Big Apple was unusually cold. Overall, we had 11 days where our high temperature did not get above freezing.  While we also had a few unseasonably warm days, the extended periods of extreme cold brought the city’s average monthly temperature down to 31.7°F.  That is 3.3°F below normal.

Feb_TempsGraph Credit: The Weather Gamut

Another Snowstorm Slams NYC

A massive winter storm walloped the East Coast of the United States yesterday.  The impacts of snow, sleet and freezing rain were felt from Georgia to Maine.

Here in New York City, the storm came in two parts.  The first round brought us 9.5 inches of snow.  Coming down at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour, it piled up quickly.  Following a lull in the afternoon, round two produced heavy rain, thunder and lightning, and another 3 inches of snow.  In the end, this classic nor’easter dumped 12.5 inches of heavy, wet snow in the Big Apple.

So far this February, the city has received 25.7 inches of snow.  On average, we usually get 25.1 inches for the entire winter. This season, to date, we have accumulated 54 inches of snow in Central Park, making it our 9th snowiest on record.

More snow is forecast for the weekend.

A Wild Week of Wintry Weather

Coming on the heels of a very snowy January, a series of winter storms slammed the midwest and northeastern U.S. this week.  From snow to sleet to freezing rain, the region saw a bit of everything.

Here in New York City, Monday’s storm dumped 8 inches of heavy, wet snow in Central Park – setting a new daily snowfall record. Only two days later, another weather system brought the Big Apple a wintry mix that included 4 inches of snow topped with about 0.25 inches of ice.

These two storms brought the city’s monthly snowfall total up to 12 inches and it is only the first week of February.  On average, we usually receive 8.8 inches for the entire month. Overall, local snowfall has been running above average this winter season with 40.3 inches of accumulation to date.

While more snow is on deck for the weekend, NYC is not expecting significant accumulation, contrary to earlier reports.