The Climate Lottery: Winter 2017/2018 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 January 5th, 2018. 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

*The National Center for Environmental Information ranking numbers for average temperatures of the lower 48 states for winter 2017/18 will be posted on or shortly after March 7th, 2018 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 (SEP) (OCT) (NOV) 2017 were 98/103/117 with a Power Ball number of 114 for the season. The winner of the fall 2017 contest was John Springer with his picks of 93/82/90/ PB 99, which were the closest numbers of anyone who played to the actual numbers. John will receive $100 for a good forecast.

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there.  Fall 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 December 2017 and January/February 2018. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for winter 2017/18 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. Those for 2018 will have a range from 1 to 124. The coldest ranking would be the number 1. Please give your picks to before January 5th, 2018. If you wait until just before January 5th to make your picks, you can make an educated guess as to what the ranking for December will be (and, also a heads-up guess for January). 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 Fall 2017 for the lower 48 states was 114, which was well above the average ranking of 61.5. and the 10th warmest fall 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. Fall 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 fall 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 Fall 2017, which was the 10th warmest fall on record (or a Powerball ranking of 114):

Only Idaho, Montana and North Dakota had near average temperatures. New England, Arizona, and New Mexico had their warmest autumn on record.

The following is a breakdown of each month for Fall 2017. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 123: In September the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 98 (out of 123):

The ball landing out of the Climate Lottery Hopper ended up above average in September 2017 across the lower 48 states, which ranked 26th warmest since 1895. Temperatures across the Southeast and West were near average.

In October the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 103 (out of 123):

New England saw its warmest October on record. Except for the Southwest the weather pattern developed such that the farther east one was the more anomalously warm were the conditions.

In November 2017 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 117 (out of 123):

November 2017 was the warmest fall month. That pesky fire and delight inducing ridge began to raise its ugly head across the West again where the Four Corners states had their warmest November on record.

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-two seasons have been below average or “blue”. Twenty-three out of thirty-two 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 twelve 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 winter. 

Guy Walton

“The Climate Guy”