The Climate Lottery: Spring 2017 Contest

This spring contest is a forecast contest, which will be a practice run for an identical summer contest. I will offer a prize for the summer contestūüėä.

Please click on this link to make your picks in the comments section:

The winning Climate Lottery numbers for winter (DEC) 2016 and (JAN, FEB) 2017 were 54/106/122 with a Power Ball number of 117 for the season.

Hello to all weather and climate geeks out there. Winter 2016/2017 turned out to be one of the mildest across the continental United States in history. If you wish to play ‚ÄúThe Climate Lottery‚ÄĚ, pick three numbers between 1 and 123 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 123 being the highest possible ranking) for March/April/May 2017. Also, pick a ‚ÄúPower Ball‚ÄĚ or overall ranking number for spring 2017 between 1 and 123. The Power Ball ranking will serve as a tiebreaker for any close picks between contestants. Since 2017 is the 123rd year the National Climatic Center has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2017 will have a record warmest ranking of 123. Please give your picks in the reply section to this blog by April 5th, 2017. If you wait until just before April 5th to make your picks, you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for March will be (and, also a heads-up guess for April).

Yes, the climate is warming, but not fast enough, so far,¬†such that all months and seasons are warmer than average… thus forecasting skills will come into play for the Climate Lottery.

All data can be found at the National Center for Environmental Information site noted here:

The Power Ball (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for winter 2016-2017 for the lower 48 states was 117,  which was 6th warmest. In the Climate Lottery game I’ve defined each individual lottery number as the average temperature ranking 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. Winter 2016/2017 was well above average across the lower 48 states. Chances for an entire season of below average temperatures are becoming much less likely across the lower 48 states due to global warming.

Other references to Climate Lottery blog posts can be found at:

The winter season, as a whole, saw above average temperatures across the lower 48 states. The whole point of these posts is to demonstrate how skewed temperatures have become towards warmth due to climate change. Of course, as far as the globe goes, the larger an area that is compared to averages, the more likely that area is to be above long term averages. What has happened so far this decade is yet more proof of the climate lottery game being loaded for warmth in the United States.

Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers for winter 2016/2017:


Most of the western U.S. had near to below average temperatures through the¬†winter months while most of the¬†east and central states had well above average temperatures. The five year drought in California¬†was¬†doused by a strong Pacific flow. The Pacific flow, in turn, partially¬†impeded¬†the jet stream from allowing cold air masses¬†to penetrated¬†into much¬†of the lower 48 states.¬†The following is a breakdown of each month for winter 2016/17. Each chart shows ‚ÄúClimate Lottery‚ÄĚ numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 123.

In December the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 54 and was the coldest month, overall, of the winter (out of 122)(122 in 2016 and 123 in 2017):


The ball landing out of the Climate Lottery Hopper ended up slightly below average in December 2016 across the lower 48 states, which averaged 54th coolest since 1895. The western U.S. was below average while California began to get substantial relief from a five-year drought. The southern and eastern tiers of the U.S. had above average temperatures. There was a warming trend for most of the winter.

In January the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 106 (out of 123):

The West remained wet and cold. The eastern U.S. had fairly mild conditions. It was so mild that Chicago did not get a blanket of snow even one inch deep for the entire winter. In February 2017 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 122 (out of 123):

February 2017 was the second warmest February across the continental U.S. A swath of warmest conditions on record occurred from New York southward to Texas. Sixteen states had their record warmest February. Washington was the only state that had below average conditions.

The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or ‚Äúclimate lottery number picks‚ÄĚ for the 2010‚Äôs:

The average ranking for 2017 is 61.5 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 123. I have color coded all rankings for this post at or below 41 blue and all those at or above 82 red with rankings + or ‚Äď 20 from the median value of 61.5 black. With time, the rankings for each individual month, season and year will change as more data becomes available to the National Center for Environmental Information. Also, for reference, the annual or mega ball numbers are shown on the chart.

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 NCEI rankings for seasons compare seasons and are not merely an average of rankings of individual months of a season or year. The winter ranking was in the red or above average temperature range.

Notice that since the start of 2010 only four out of twenty-nine seasons have been below average or ‚Äúblue‚ÄĚ. Twenty-one out of twenty-nine seasons since 2010 have been ‚Äúred‚ÄĚ or above average. Indeed, the Climate Lottery Hopper is very much loaded for above average temperatures for the lower 48 states looking at recent history. The last ten seasons were all red and ranked above 100.¬† Yes, the ‚Äúcasino of climate averages‚ÄĚ is cheating causing the ‚Äúhouse of warming‚ÄĚ due to climate pollution to win just about every season. I hope that everyone will have a great spring.

Guy Walton

‚ÄúThe Climate Guy‚ÄĚ