January-April 2012 Warmest First Third of Year in Recorded History

We're all quite aware of the fact that much of 2012 has been very warm across the country.  Now that we're through the first third of the  year, lets take a quick look back at some of the more interesting climate stats of the year.  On a national scale, January-April temperatures will rank as the warmest on record, with a national average temperature of 45.4 degrees (normal is around 40 degrees). Of more note is the fact that the United States just completed the warmest 12 month stretch of weather (May 2011-April 2012)  in recorded history with an average temperature of 55.6 degrees.

Time Series of January-April Average Temperatures for the United States Plot of January-April Average Temperatures for the United States
 
12 Month Time Series of Average Temperatures in the United States  

 

Ten Warmest 12-month consecutive periods of the United States on Record

These are the warmest 12-month periods on record for the contiguous United States. The record begins January 1895. This data provided by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).  For futher details please visit the page here.

Rank Consecutive 12-month Period Temperature Departure
(from 20th Century Average)
Warmest May 2011 – April 2012* +2.80°F
2nd Warmest November 1999 – October 2000 +2.70°F
3rd Warmest October 1999 – September 2000 +2.65°F
4th Warmest April 2011 – March 2012* +2.61°F
5th Warmest September 2005 – August 2006 +2.56°F
6th Warmest August 2005 – July 2006 +2.54°F
  September 1999 – August 2000 +2.54°F
8th Warmest July 1999 – June 2000 +2.51°F
9th Warmest June 1999 – May 2000 +2.46°F
  August 1999 – July 2000 +2.46°F

 

 

Climate averages can be taken down to both the state scale.  Both Kansas and Missouri have experienced the warmest start to the year in recorded history. A breakdown of the 4 month plots can be seen below.

 
  Kansas Average Temperatures (January-April 2012) Missouri Average Temperatures (January-April 2012)

We can also break down climatological data into smaller regions, including four regions of eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Reference the regional breakdown map below along with the corresponding average temperatures.  You can see that almost the entire state of Missouri was at record levels at this scale, with mainly eastern Kansas setting records for the first quarter.

Sub-Regional Plot of Temperature Departures (January-April 2012) Kansas Climate Division 6 Kansas Climate Division 3
Climatological Divisions Missouri Climate Division 1  Missouri Climate Division 3

 

 We've even experienced near records at the local level as well with both Kansas City and St. Joseph experiencing record starts to the year.  In Kansas City the average temperature for January-April was 47.7 degrees which is tied 1946 as the warmest start to a  year on record.  In St. Joesph, the warmest start on record was more pronounced with an average temperature of 46.3 degrees.

 Rank        Value      Ending Date
1 47.7 1946

2 47.7 2012

3 46.7 2006
4 46.2 1921
5 44.6 1938
6 44.2 1954
7 43.9 1992
8 43.7 1931, 1933
10 43.6 1967, 2000
Rank    Value  Ending Date
  1         46.3    2012
  2         45.8    1946
  3         45.1    2006
  4        44.3    1921
  5        42.9    1990, 1938
  7         42.7    2000
  8         42.0    1976
  9         41.9    1931, 1933, 1981,1967
Kansas City Yearly Plot Kansas City Top 10 Warmest January-April St. Joseph Yearly Plot St. Joesph Top 10 Warmest January-April

 We thought we'd look a little bit further back to include the entire snow season (October-April).  It turns out that within that period, Kansas City has recorded the warmest temperatures in recorded history with an average temperature of 47.2 degrees.  Here are the top 15 years on record:

Year Avg
2011-2012 47.2
1932-1932 46.4
1920-1921 46.3
1953-1954 46.2
2005-2006 46.1
1945-1946 45.7
1963-1964 45.6
1999-2000 45.6
1966-1967 45.4
1954-1955 45.1
1965-1966 45.1
1941-1942 45.1
1938-1939 45.1
1918-1919 44.9



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