The Climate Lottery: Spring 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 Spring 2021 will be posted on or shortly after June 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 Winter 2020/21 (DEC, JAN, FEB) were 105/118/19 with a Power Ball number of 98 for the season, meaning that Winter 2020/21 was the 29th warmest winter in recorded history for the United States.

Hello again to all weather and climate geeks out there. Winter 2020/21   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 March, April and May 2020. Also, pick a “Power Ball” or overall ranking number for the spring season as a whole 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 2021 is the 126th year that the National Center for Environmental Information has been ranking years since 1895, all months for 2021 will have a warmest ranking of 126. Monthly rankings for 2021 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 April 5th, 2020. 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/cag/national/rankings/110/tavg/202005

The Power Ball (or overall National Center for Environment Information) number for Winter 2020/21 for the lower 48 states was 98, which was well above the average ranking of 63, for the lower 48 states. Only 28 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 Winter 2020/21, which was ranked as 29th warmest or 98th coldest (or a Powerball ranking of 98):

3-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The only lower 48 states below average were Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas for Winter 2020/21. The coolest conditions relative to average continued to be in the heart of the country just like during last fall and summer.

The following is a breakdown of each month for Winter 2020/21. Each chart shows “Climate Lottery” numbers for each state (or rankings) from a scale of 1 to 126.

In December the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 105 (out of 125 since a ranking of 125 was highest for 2020): 

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

Winter started out relatively warm across the northern tier of states, a typical La Niña pattern. No one state had cooler than average conditions.

In January the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 118 (out of 126):

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

The temperature pattern in January was very similar to that of December but just a tad warmer relative to average for most states.

In February the overall ranking for the lower 48 states was 19 (out of 126):

1-Month Statewide Average Temperature Ranks

February was the monkey wrench in the global warming machine works. About Every six months the last couple of years we are seeing a below average month, and February 2020 was that in Spades due to a historic cold outbreak, causing misery for millions living across the south-central states. Thousands of new cold records were set mainly in the nation’s heartland southward through Texas. February had the lowest ratio of record DHMX to DLMN since March 2014 in my database:

 The following are the rankings, so far, for individual months or “climate lottery number picks” from 2012-2021:

The average ranking for 2021 is 63 since the coldest ranking would be 1 and the hottest 126. I have color coded all well below average temperature rankings for this post at or below 43 blue and all those well above temperature rankings at or above 83 red, with rankings + or – 20 from the mean value of 63 black for near average temperature rankings. 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, for example. 

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 Winter 2020/21- 105/118/19 P.B.98:

Notice that since the start of 2012 only two out of the last thirty-seven seasons have been well below average or “blue.” Twenty-eight out of thirty-seven seasons since 2012 have been “red” or well above average. Winter 2020/21 adds to our warm stats and was also 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 spring.

Guy Walton…”The Climate Guy”