The Climate Lottery: Spring 2018 Contest

*The Climate Lottery is a forecast contest free to play by giving 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 spring 2018 will be posted on or shortly after June 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 winter (DEC 2017) @ (JAN,FEB 2018)  were 93/90/84 with a Power Ball number of 100 for the season. The winner of the winter 2017/18 contest was John Springer again with his picks of 88/80/75/ PB 90, which were the closest numbers of anyone who played to the actual numbers. John Springer will receive $100 for a good forecast. Congratulations John!😊

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there.  Winter 2017/18 turned out to be relatively warm, temperature average wise, across the continental United States since records began in 1895. If you wish to play “The Climate Lottery”, pick three numbers between 1 and 124 (with 1 representing the coldest possible ranking and 124 being the highest possible ranking) for March, April and May 2018. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for spring 2018 between 1 and 124. 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 2018 is the 124th year that the National Center for Environmental Information has been ranking years since 1895 all months for 2018 will have a warmest ranking of 124. Those for 2018 will have a range from 1 to 124. The coldest ranking would be the number 1. Please give your picks to Guywalton10@gmail.com before April 5th, 2018. 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). 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 Winter 2017/18 for the lower 48 states was 100, which was well above the average ranking of 61.5. and the 24th warmest winter 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. Winter 2017/18 temperatures were 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 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. Balls coming out of the Climate Lottery hopper are likely to have high numbers, which was indeed the case for the winter.

Here’s a breakdown of the National Climatic Center’s ranking numbers for winter 2017, which was the 24th warmest winter on record (or a Powerball ranking of 100):

Only two states, Montana and Nebraska saw below average temperatures.

The following is a breakdown of each month for Winter 2017/18. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 123 (for 2017): In December the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 93 (out of 123):

My home state of Georgia was ranked warm at 87 despite having a record early December snow storm. Building ridges over the West produced warm conditions in the Southwest. 

In January the overall ranking was 90 for the lower 48 states (out of 124).

January 2018 was the month of the dipole was in full force with a stubborn, deep trough persisting in the East and a trough in the West. Interestingly there were more daily record low minimums smashed than record highs breaking a string of  37 consecutive months of more record DHMX than DLMN dating back to November 2014. Despite the disparity in record numbers January 2018 got ranked 90 since the western warmth was more significant than the southern chill. 

In February 2018 the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 84 (out of 124):

In February 2018 the dipole pattern broke down such that near average temperatures predominated the West, but a massive upper ridge produced a mid-winter “warm wave” in the East. The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” for the 2010s:

The average ranking for 2018 is 62 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 124. 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 2017 was 121 meaning that 2017 was the third warmest year on record for the lower 48 states. Now this is important…The last three years have had at least a top four ranking for the U.S. The year 2012 remains the too dog seeing the hottest year on record. 

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 compare and are not merely an average of rankings of individual months of a season or year as was the case for winter 2017/18: 93/90/84/P.B. 100

Notice that since the start of 2010 only four out of thirty-three seasons have been below average or “blue.” Twenty-four out of thirty-three 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 thirteen seasons were all red and ranked at or above 100. 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 spring.

Guy Walton

“The Climate Guy