NOAA: U.S. temperature and precipitation in October were near average
Sandy breaks records in East while severe drought continues in West
According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during October was 53.9°F, 0.3°F below the long-term average, ending a 16-month streak of above-average temperatures for the lower 48 that began in June 2011. The October nationally averaged precipitation total of 2.19 inches was slightly above the long-term average. The Northwest, Midwest, and Northeast were wetter than average, while below-average precipitation was observed across the Southern Rockies and the Central and Southern Plains. As of October 30, 60.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing drought conditions with the most severe conditions in the Great Plains.
This monthly analysis (summary, full report) from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy
- Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J. on October 29 after it transitioned from a tropical to a post-tropical cyclone. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour and a central minimum pressure of 946 millibars at landfall. This was the lowest pressure reading ever recorded along the Northeast coast. Sandy's large size, with tropical storm force winds extending nearly 500 miles from the center, led to more than 100 fatalities, large-scale flooding, wind damage, and mass power outages in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
- Sandy brought large storm surge and high water levels to much of the coastal Northeast with New Jersey, New York and Connecticut particularly hard hit. The 13.88-foot observed water level at The Battery in New York City was an all-time record for the location, smashing the previous record set in 1960 during Hurricane Donna by more than three feet. The Delaware River in Philadelphia also reached a new record high water level of 10.6 feet, surpassing the previous record of 10.5 feet which was set in April 2011 from record rainfall.
- Sandy also brought blizzard conditions to the Central and Southern Appalachians, where over a foot of snow fell in six states from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, shattering all-time October monthly and single storm snowfall records. Snowfall totals across the highest elevations approached three feet.
U.S. climate highlights - October
- Below-average temperatures stretched from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico during October with 19 states having monthly temperatures below their 20th century averages. The Southwest and the Northeast were the only two areas of the country with above average temperatures.
- Wetter-than-average conditions stretched from the Northwest, through the Northern Plains, into the Midwest and the Northeast. Washington, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Maine had October precipitation totals among their ten wettest. Below-average precipitation was observed across the Southern Rockies and Central and Southern Plains. Texas had its ninth driest October on record.
- The October 30, 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor showed 60.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, smaller than the 64.6 percent at the beginning of October. Drought conditions improved slightly across parts of the Midwest and Central Plains, while drought conditions worsened across the Northern Rockies.
U.S. climate highlights - year-to-date (January-October)
The January-October period was the warmest first ten months of any year on record for the contiguous U.S. The national temperature of 58.4°F was 3.4°F above the 20th century average, and 1.1°F above the previous record warm January-October of 2000. During the 10-month period, 21 states were record warm and an additional 25 states had year-to-date temperatures among their ten warmest. Only Washington had a statewide temperature near average for the period.January-October 2012 was the 16th driest such period on record for the contiguous U.S. with a precipitation total 1.9 inches below the average of 24.78 inches.
- Drier-than-average conditions were present from the Southwest, through the Rockies, across the Plains and into the Midwest. Nebraska and Wyoming were both record dry for the period. Nebraska's statewide precipitation total of 11.92 inches was 9.4 inches below average, while Wyoming's precipitation of 6.57 inches was 5.2 inches below average.
- The Gulf Coast, parts of the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest were wetter than average during January-October. Washington's year-to-date precipitation total was 33.23 inches, 7.36 inches above average, and the fourth wettest January-October on record.
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was nearly twice the average value during the January-October period, and marked the second highest USCEI value for the period. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures, warm nighttime temperatures, and the spatial extent of drought conditions contributed to the record high USCEI value.
Katy Vincent, email@example.com, 828-257-3136
NOAA Communications & External Affairs
NOAA: Global temperatures were fifth highest on record for October
Arctic sea ice doubles from last month, yet remains second lowest on record for October
According to NOAA scientists, the globally-averaged temperature for October 2012 was the fifth warmest October since recordkeeping began in 1880. It marked the 36thconsecutive October and 332nd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average October temperature was October 1976, and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.
Higher-than-average monthly temperatures were observed across much of Europe, western and far eastern Asia, northeastern and southwestern North America, central South America, northern Africa, and most of Australia. Meanwhile, much of northwestern and central North America, central Asia, parts of western and northern Europe, and southern Africa were notably below average.
This monthly analysis (summary,full report) from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
Global temperature highlights: October
- The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces tied with 2008 as the fifth highest for October at 58.23°F (14.63°C), or 1.13°F (0.63°C), above the 20th century average. The margin of error associated with this temperature is +/- 0.22°F (0.12°C).
- The global land temperature was the eighth warmest October on record at 1.66°F (0.92°C) above the 20th century average of 48.7°F (9.3°C). The margin of error is +/- 0.13°F (0.07°C).
- Higher-than-average monthly temperatures were most notable across Europe, western and far eastern Asia, northeastern and southwestern North America, central South America, northern Africa, and most of Australia, while temperatures were below average across much of northwestern and central North America, central Asia, parts of western and northern Europe, and southern Africa.
- o The average temperature across the United Kingdom was 2.3°F (1.3°C) below the 1981-2010 average, making it the coldest October since 2003.
- o Temperatures were above average across southeastern Europe during October. The Republic of Moldova reported monthly temperatures that ranged from 4.5 to 6.3°F (2.5 to 3.5°C) above average across the country.
- o Every state and territory in Australia observed above-average monthly maximum temperatures during October. The nationally-averaged temperature was 2.75°F (1.53°C) above the 1961-1990 average, making it the 10th warmest October maximum temperature since records began in 1950.
- For the ocean, the October global sea surface temperature was 0.94°F (0.52°C) above the 20th century average of 60.6°F (15.9°C), tying with 2004 as the fourth highest on record for October. The margin of error is +/- 0.07°F (0.04°C). The northwestern Atlantic Ocean and part of the north central Pacific Ocean temperatures were markedly higher than average, while much of the eastern and part of the western Pacific Ocean and much of the southern Atlantic Ocean were below average.
- Borderline neutral/weak El Niño conditions were present during October across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, with sea surface temperatures close to 0.9°F (0.5°C) above average for a three-month period, the official threshold for the onset of El Niño conditions. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, neutral conditions are expected to continue through the the Northern Hemisphere's winter 2012/2013.
Precipitation highlights: October
- Sandy dumped copious rain over Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and much of the eastern United States. Sandy also brought blizzard conditions to the Central and Southern Appalachians shattering all-time U.S. October monthly and single storm snowfall records.
- The Finnish Meteorological Institute reported that precipitation totals across western parts of the country were double the October monthly average. Some stations broke their all-time highest monthly precipitation records for October.
- October was dry across Australia, with the country experiencing rainfall that was 48 percent of average for the month. This was the 10th driest October since precipitation records began in 1900.
Snow cover & polar ice highlights: October
- The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for October was the eighth largest monthly extent in the 45-year period of record, at 734,000 square miles above average. The North American snow cover extent was the seventh largest on record for October, while the Eurasian snow cover was the 11th largest. Canada and Russia both experienced much above average October snow cover.
- During the first full month of the annual growth cycle, Arctic sea ice doubled in size after reaching its record smallest minimum in September. The October Arctic sea ice extent was 2.7 million square miles, 24.6 percent below average. This marked the second smallest monthly sea ice extent on record-only slightly larger than the record small October extent of 2007.
- On the opposite pole, Antarctic sea ice extent declined rapidly after reaching its largest annual maximum extent on record. October Antarctic sea ice extent was 7.3 million square miles, 3.4 percent above average, and the third largest October ice extent on record.
Global temperature highlights: Year-to-date
- Record to near-record warmth over land from April to September and above-average global ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean resulted in the first ten months of 2012 ranking as the eighth warmest such period on record, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature of 1.04°F (0.58°C) above the 20th century average of 57.4°F (14.1°C). The margin of error is +/- 0.16°F (0.09°C).
- The January-October worldwide land surface temperature was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, making this the sixth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/- 0.38°F (0.21°C).
- The global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 0.79°F (0.44°C) above average, tying with 1997 as the 10th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is +/-0.07°F (0.04°C).
John Ewald, 240-429-6127, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katy Vincent, 828-257-3136, email@example.com
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