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Monday, December 31, 2012

Climate Dice- The Seventh Roll: Lottery Numbers For Fall 2012

Blog: Climate Dice- The Seventh Roll: Lottery Numbers For Fall 2012

The winning Climate Lottery numbers for fall (SEP/OCT/NOV) 2012 were 101/44/99, and the Power Ball number was 98

The Power Ball (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for fall 2012 came up as 98, which was the 21st warmest for any fall on record for the lower 48 states. A ranking of 1 would have been the coldest possible ranking. The National Climatic Data Center has been ranking months, seasons and years from 1 to 118 since 1895 with 1 being the coldest possible temperature average ranking and 118 being the warmest possible temperature average. In the Climate Lottery game, I've defined each individual lottery number as rankings for each month for the lower 48 states, Power Ball numbers as those for each season, and Mega Ball numbers as those for each year. As we keep seeing over and over again the Climate Lottery game is rigged towards those higher number rankings. Above average rankings have occurred for every month since (and including) June 2011 up until October 2012 when near normal conditions occurred.

There was no clear winner for fall 2012. If I can get a consensus who the winner was, I will post an update.

Well, let's play the lottery again. I wonder if we will ever see in the future a "gotcha" set of three months when temperatures are below average for an entire season across the lower 48 states. Pick three numbers between 1 and 118 (with one representing the coldest possible ranking and 118 being the highest possible ranking) for DEC 2012. The highest possible ranking will be 119 for JAN and FEB 2013. Also pick a "Power Ball" or overall ranking number for winter 2012 between 1 and 118. Please give your picks in the reply section to this blog by January 5th, 2013...I'm giving folks a bit more time this go round due to the holidays. As usual, if you wait until just before January 5th to make your picks, you can get an educated guess as to what the ranking for December will be (and also a heads-up guess for January). I'll announce another winner shortly after the National Climatic Data Center processes fall averages and rankings on my next post around March 10th, 2012. Just for kicks and grins, pick the "Mega-ball" number for 2012...if you've been following along, this should be easy.

Here's a hint for December 2012: up to this writing 1,220 daily record highs have either been tied or set while only 6 daily record lows have either been tied or set.
See:[]=US#records_look_up for the latest update.

For reference the following are links to my first six posts:


Once again, the fall season, as a whole, was above long term averages, but we finally saw one month below average for the first time since June 2011...October 2012. I'll reiterate once more (I know that this is getting repetitive) that due to climate change it is unlikely for a land area the size of the contiguous United States to have below average temperatures for an entire season. I'm not going to state that there will NEVER AGAIN be another below average season for the United States, but due to man induced global warming, the chances for an entire season of below average conditions is becoming much less likely. The whole point of these posts is to demonstrate how skewed temperatures have become towards warmth due to climate change...and they were much skewed towards warmth again this fall. As stated in my fourth post, only an increase in volcanic activity from what is presently occurring at the moment can significantly slow the overall warming trend of the planet. What has happened so far this year is yet more proof of the climate dice being loaded for warmth in the United States.

Here's a breakdown of the National Climatic Center's ranking numbers for each month of the fall:

In September the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 101 (out of 118):

The jet stream was oriented such that very warm weather persisted in the West with cooler than average temperatures occurring in the Midwest. Nevertheless the overall raking for the U.S. came up as 101...well above the average of 59 and very much in the red as far as rankings go. Looking at the map you can pick out each individual state ranking. Again the overall ranking of 101 is not an average of the 48 individual state rankings; rather the ranking is a comparison of temperature averages for the lower 48 states for September since 1895.

In the last couple of months NCDC revised September's ranking from 96 to 101, so Eric Fisher with his guess of 100 was the winner for that month...good going Eric! From January to September 2012 there were 10 consecutive months having rankings above 100...a phenomena that had never occurred, so far, since 1895.

In October the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 44 (out of 118):

October 2012 was a good example of how the atmosphere can line up to produce cooler than average conditions for a large geographical area, such as the continental U.S., despite an overall warming trend across the planet due to man induced climate change. One huge event did occur at the end of the month, which many climatologists attribute to climate change: Hurricane Sandy. Meteorologist Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel has written an in depth article relating Sandy to global warming. Please see:

For the contest of fall 2012 Dr. Jeff Masters and I tied for the best picks for October, which was 85...good going, Jeff! Our picks were too warm, overall, for the month but they were the lowest of everyone who played.

In November the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 99 (out of 118):

The jet stream was oriented such that there was a ridge keeping conditions very warm in the West while during the early part of November cold conditions were prevalent in the East.

Our old friend Buzz Bernard was dead on target with a prediction of 99 as his pick for November...way to go Buzz for the best pick for November!

The overall ranking for fall 2012 was 98 (out of 118)...The 21st warmest fall on record.

Nevada had its warmest fall on record. Despite cold conditions in the East, the overall ranking reflecting average temperatures was well above average for the lower 48 states.

Buzz Bernard did it again...his guess of 100 for the "Power-Ball" was closest to the ranking of 98.

I am getting all of my ranking numbers from the National Climatic Data Center.
The link for the National Climatic Data Center's Climate at a Glance Site where the rankings are archived is:

I'm keeping the format on all of my charts the same as on the last three posts. The average ranking for 2012 is
59 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest would be 118. I have color coded all rankings for this post at or below 38 blue and all those at or above 79 red with rankings + or -- 19 from the median value of 59 black.

The following are the rankings so far for the 2010's:

Also, for reference, the following are "Power-Ball" and "Mega-Ball" ranking numbers for 2000 to the present.
Please see my prior posts for more charts dating back to 1900. Seasonal or Power-Ball rankings for winter are those for DEC/JAN/FEB, spring are those for MAR/APR/MAY, summer is JUN/JUL/AUG, and fall is SEP/OCT/NOV. Also, keep in mind that NCDC rankings for seasons compare seasons and are not merely an average of rankings of individual months of a season or year.

Notice that since the start of 2000 only five out of fifty-two seasons have been below average or "blue". Thirty-seven out of the fifty-two seasons since 2000 have been "red" or above average. Indeed, as stated in the last post, the climate dice are very much loaded for above average temperatures for the lower 48 states looking at recent history.

I hope that everyone will have a great winter. We'll see if this winter turns out to be colder and snowier than that of 2011/2012, which was very mild, despite December 2012 starting out so warm.

Click here to leave a comment and play the climate lottery.

Guy Walton
Lead Forecaster, the Weather Channel
"That Climate Guy"

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