The Climate Lottery: Fall 2017 Contest

*A special note: I am offering a $100 cash prize for the contest that will be open from the time of this blog posting and close on midnight EDT October 5th, 2017. It’s a forecast contest free to play! Just give your picks in an e-mail. The special account that I have set up for the contest is guywalton10@gmail.com

*The National Center for Environmental Information ranking numbers for average temperatures of the lower 48 states for summer 2017 will be posted on or shortly after December 7th, 2017 which will be the official “Climate Lottery” numbers of the contest. Any subsequent changes by NCEI after their initial posted rankings will not be valid for the contest…and those ranking numbers will change with time.* The winning Climate Lottery numbers for summer (JUN) (JUL) (AUG) 2017 were 104/114/53 with a Power Ball number of 109 for the season. We have a statistical tie for the summer contest. The winners of the summer 2017 contest were John and Eric with their picks of 88/84/100/ PB 111 and 99/105/111 PB 106, which were the closest numbers of anyone who played to the actual numbers. The absolute value of both Eric and John’s total differences from their picks and the actual rankings was 75. Way to go Eric and John! ☺ Both Eric and John will receive $50 due to the tie.

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there.  Summer 2017 turned out to be one of the warmest across the continental United States since records began in 1895. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery”, pick three numbers between 1 and 123 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 123 being the highest possible ranking) for September /October/November 2017. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for fall 2017 between 1 and 123. The Power Ball ranking will serve as a tiebreaker for any close picks between contestants. Your picks are NCEI rankings for average temperatures across the lower 48 states. Since 2017 is the 123rd year the National Climatic Center has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2017 will have a warmest ranking of 123. The coldest ranking would be the number 1. Please give your picks to Guywalton10@gmail.com before October 5th, 2017. If you wait until just before October 5th to make your picks, you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for September will be (and, also a heads-up guess for October). All data can be found at the National Center for Environmental Information site noted here: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/us-maps/1/201702#us-maps-select

The Power Ball (or overall National Climatic Data Center Ranking) number for Summer 2017 for the lower 48 states was 109, which was well above the average ranking of 61.5. and the 15th warmest summer on record for the lower 48 states. 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. Summer 2017 temperatures were well above average across most of 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 carbon pollution. The summer 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. Balls coming out of the Climate Lottery hopper are likely to have high numbers.

Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers for summer 2017, which was the 15th warmest summer on record (or a Powerball ranking of 109):

The nation’s heartland had below average temperatures through the summer months while the Eastern Seabird, Florida, and the West saw above average conditions. California and Nevada had a record hottest summer greatly contributing to lifting averages for the CONUS into the top 20 rankings.

The following is a breakdown of each month for summer 2017. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 123: In June the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 104 (out of 123):

The ball landing out of the Climate Lottery Hopper ended up well above average in June 2017 across the lower 48 states, which averaged 19th warmest since 1895. Temperatures across the Southeast were below average, however.

In July the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 114 (out of 123):

Every state saw at average or above average temperature during the month of July. The West and Florida were particularly toasty in July.

In August 2017 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 53 (out of 123):

August was the odd ball out coming from the Climate Lottery Hopper ranked at the lowest average since November 2014. Widespread below average states can be seen in the nation’s mid-section. Due to the West’s record warmth the CONUS, as a whole came up with a near average temperature ranking.

The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” for the 2010’s:

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 – 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 summer ranking was in the red or above average temperature range.

Notice that since the start of 2010 only four out of thirty-one seasons have been below average or “blue”. Twenty-three out of thirty-one seasons since 2010 have been “red” 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 eleven seasons were all red and ranked above 100. Yes, the “casino of climate averages” is cheating causing the “house of warming” due to climate pollution to win just about every season. I hope that everyone will have a great fall. 

Guy Walton

“The Climate Guy”