The Climate Lottery: Summer 2019 Contest

The Climate Lottery is a forecast contest free to play by giving your picks in an e-mail or in this post’s comment section. No prizes will be given out for the contest, which is for educational purposes only. The main purpose for the contest is to make people interested in National Center for Environmental Information climate products. The special account that I have set up for the contest is guywalton10@gmail.com. This time I will make a personal pick, following along with any players.

The National Center for Environmental Information ranking numbers for average temperatures of the lower 48 states for Summer 2019 will be posted on or shortly after September 7th, 2019 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…but those ranking numbers will change with time. The winning Climate Lottery numbers for Spring 2019 (MAR, APR, MAY)  were 40/103/37 with a Power Ball number of 62 for the season. 

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. Spring 2019   turned out to be an average season, temperature wise, for most of the United States. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery” pick one number between 1 and 125 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 125 being the highest possible ranking) for June, July, and August 2019. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for Summer 2019 between 1 and 125. 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 2019 is the 125th year that the National Center for Environmental Information has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2019 will have a warmest ranking of 125. The year 2019 would be the 125th year. Those rankings for 2019 will have a range from 1 to 125 with the coldest ranking being the number 1.

Please give your picks to Guywalton10@gmail.com before July 5th, 2019. If you wait until just before July 5th to make your picks you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for June will be (and, also a heads-up guess for July). 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 Center for Environment Information) number for Spring 2019 for the lower 48 states was 62, which was very close to the average ranking of 62.5, 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. 

Chances for an entire season of below average temperatures are becoming much less likely across the lower 48 states due to carbon pollution. 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, but we saw some low numbers this spring. 

Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers by state for Spring 2019, which was ranked 62nd coolest (or a Powerball ranking of 62):

3-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The Southeast had a warm spring while the wet Midwest remained chilly. The West had near average conditions.

The following is a breakdown of each month for Spring 2019. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 125.

In March the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 40 (out of 125): 

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

Most of the Plains were slightly below average.

In April 2019 the overall ranking was 103 for the lower 48 states (out of 125):

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

Most of the nation was above average. April was the warmest month of the spring relative to average. 

In May 2019 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 37 (out of 125):

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The West became stormy and relatively cold while the Southeast had a very warm month. My hometown, Atlanta, had its warmest May on record along with many cities in Florida. 

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

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The average ranking for 2019 is 62.5 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 125. I have color coded all rankings for this post at or below 42 blue and all those at or above 82 red with rankings + or – 20 from the mean value of 62 black. With time, the rankings for each individual month, season and year will change as more data becomes available from NCEI. Also, for reference, the annual or “Mega Ball” numbers are shown on the chart. The mega ball number for 2018 was 111 meaning that 2018 was the thirteenth warmest year on record for the lower 48 states. 

Seasonal or Power Ball rankings for winter are those for DEC/JAN/FEB, spring are MAR/APR/MAY, summer JUN/JUL/AUG, and fall SEP/OCT/NOV. Also, keep in mind that NCEI rankings for seasons are not merely an average of rankings of individual month of a season or year as was the case for Spring 201919- 40/103/37 P.B. 62:

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Notice that since the start of 2010 only four out of thirty-eight seasons have been below average or “blue.” Twenty-seven out of thirty-eight seasons since 2010 have been “red” or above average. Spring 2019 bucked the trend the beginning of 2016, though. Indeed, the Climate Lottery hopper is very much loaded for above average temperatures for the lower 48 states looking at recent history. Yes, the “casino of climate averages” is cheating causing the “house of warming” due to carbon pollution to win just about every season.

 I hope that everyone will have a great summer. Be safe though, and stay hydrated during hot weather.

Guy Walton

“The Climate Guy”