The Climate Lottery: Winter 2020/2021 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 get climate change conscious 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 Winter 2020/21 will be posted on or shortly after March 6th, 2021 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 Fall 2020 (SEP, OCT, NOV) were 90/67/123 with a Power Ball number of 116 for the season, meaning that Fall 2020 was the 11th warmest fall  in recorded history for the United States.

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. Fall 2020   turned out to be well above average, temperature wise, for most of the United States. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery” pick one number between 1 and 126 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 126 being the highest possible ranking) for December, January and February 2020. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for Fall 2020 between 1 and 126. 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 2020 is the 126th year that the National Center for Environmental Information has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2020 will have a warmest ranking of 126. Monthly rankings for 2020 will have a range from 1 to 126 with the coldest ranking being the number 1.

Please give your picks to Guywalton10@gmail.com or in the comments section at the end of this post before January 5th, 2020. 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:

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/national/rankings/110/tavg/202005

The Power Ball (or overall National Center for Environment Information) number for Fall 2020 for the lower 48 states was 116, which was well above the average ranking of 63, for the lower 48 states. Only nine other falls were warmer. 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 and to get people to look at NCEI data. Of course, as far as the globe goes, the larger an area that is compared to average, the more likely that area is to be above long term averages. What has happened 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 by state for Fall 2020, which was ranked as 11th warmest (or a Powerball ranking of 116):

3-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

There were no states with below average rankings for Fall 2020. California and Florida had their hottest falls on record. The coolest conditions relative to a average occurred in the heart of the country, similar to what we experienced over Summer 2020.

The following is a breakdown of each month for Fall 2020. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 126.

In September the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 90 (out of 126 since a ranking of 126 was highest for 2020): 

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

Fall started out hot in the West, which experienced two historic heat waves. Sone central states had cooler than average conditions.

In October the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 67 (out of 126):

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

California continued to swelter. A historic cold wave produced near record low averages in the Midwest. Overall, October 2020 saw a near average ranking for the lower 48 states.

In November the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 123 (out of 126):

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The Far West finally saw some cool weather while the Midwest saw warmer than average conditions for a change. No one state saw below average temperatures.

 The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” from 2011-2020:

The average ranking for 2020 is 63 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 126. I have color coded all rankings for this post at or below 43 blue and all those at or above 83 red with rankings + or – 20 from the mean value of 63 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 112, meaning that 2018 was the fourteenth 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 Fall 2020- 90/67/123 P.B.116:

Notice that since the start of 2011 only three out of the last thirty-nine seasons have been well below average or “blue.” Twenty-nine out of thirty-nine seasons since 2011 have been “red” or above average. Fall 2020 was well above average, so was colored red. 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” to win just about every season due to carbon pollution.

I hope that everyone will have a great, safe winter.

Guy Walton…”The Climate Guy”