U.S. Weather Trends-March, 2008

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”   * Although the ocean surface average was only
the 13th warmest on record, as the cooling
influence of La Niña in the tropical Pacific
continued, much warmer than average conditions
across large parts of Eurasia helped push the
global average to a near record high for March.
     * Despite above average snowpack levels in
the U.S., the total Northern Hemisphere snow
cover extent was the fourth lowest on record for
March, remaining consistent with boreal spring
conditions of the past two decades, in which
warming temperatures have contributed to
anomalously low snow cover extent.
     * Some weakening of La Niña, the cold phase
of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, occurred in
March, but moderate La Niña conditions remained
across the tropical Pacific Ocean.”
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080418112341.htm

Global Land Temperature Warmest
On Record In March 2008

ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2008) – The average global
land temperature last month was the warmest on
record and ocean surface temperatures were the
13th warmest. Combining the land and the ocean
temperatures, the overall global temperature
ranked the second warmest for the month of March.
Global temperature averages have been recorded
since 1880.

An analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data
Center shows that the average temperature for
March in the contiguous United States ranked near
average for the past 113 years. It was the 63rd
warmest March since record-keeping began in the
United States in 1895.

Global Highlights

     * The global land surface temperature was the
warmest on record for March, 3.3°F above the 20th
century mean of 40.8°F. Temperatures more than
8°F above average covered much of the Asian
continent. Two months after the greatest January
snow cover extent on record on the Eurasian
continent, the unusually warm temperatures led to
rapid snow melt, and March snow cover extent on
the Eurasian continent was the lowest on record.
     * The global surface (land and ocean surface)
temperature was the second warmest on record for
March in the 129-year record, 1.28°F above the
20th century mean of 54.9°F. The warmest March on
record (1.33°F above average) occurred in 2002.
     * Although the ocean surface average was only
the 13th warmest on record, as the cooling
influence of La Niña in the tropical Pacific
continued, much warmer than average conditions
across large parts of Eurasia helped push the
global average to a near record high for March.
     * Despite above average snowpack levels in
the U.S., the total Northern Hemisphere snow
cover extent was the fourth lowest on record for
March, remaining consistent with boreal spring
conditions of the past two decades, in which
warming temperatures have contributed to
anomalously low snow cover extent.
     * Some weakening of La Niña, the cold phase
of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, occurred in
March, but moderate La Niña conditions remained
across the tropical Pacific Ocean.

U.S. Temperature Highlights

     * In the contiguous United States, the
average temperature for March was 42°F, which was
0.4°F below the 20th century mean, ranking it as
the 63rd warmest March on record, based on
preliminary data.
     * Only Rhode Island, New Mexico and Arizona
were warmer than average, while near-average
temperatures occurred in 39 other states. The
monthly temperature for Alaska was the 17th
warmest on record, with an average temperature
3.8°F above the 1971-2000 mean.
     * The broad area of near-average temperatures
kept the nation’s overall temperature-related
residential energy demand for March near average,
based on NOAA’s Residential Energy Demand
Temperature Index.

U.S. Precipitation Highlights

     * Snowpack conditions dropped in many parts
of the West in March, but in general, heavy
snowfall during December-February has left the
western snow pack among the healthiest in more
than a decade, with most locations near to above
average.
     * Nine states from Oklahoma to Vermont were
much wetter than average, with Missouri
experiencing its second wettest March on record.
Much of the month’s precipitation fell March
17-20, when an intense storm system moved slowly
from the southern Plains through the southern
Midwest.
     * Rainfall amounts in a 48-hour period
totaled 13.84 inches in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and
12.32 inches in Jackson, Mo. The heavy rainfall
combined with previously saturated ground
resulted in widespread major flooding of rivers
and streams from the Missouri Ozarks eastward
into southern Indiana.
     * From March 7-9, eight to 12 inches of snow
fell from Louisville, Ky., to central Ohio. In
Columbus, an all-time greatest 24-hour snowfall
of 15.5 inches broke the old record of 12.3
inches set on April 4, 1987.
     * In the Southeast, a powerful tornado moved
through downtown Atlanta on March 14, causing
significant damage to many buildings. This was
one of 90 tornado reports from the Southeast in
March.
     * Rainfall in the middle of March improved
drought conditions in much of the Southeast, but
moderate-to-extreme drought still remained in
more than 59 percent of the region.
     * In the western U.S., the weather pattern in
March bore a greater resemblance to a typical La
Niña, with especially dry conditions across Utah,
Arizona, Nevada, and California. March was
extremely dry in much of California, tying as the
driest in 68 years at the Sacramento airport with
0.05 inches, a 2.75 inch departure from average.

March 2008 State rankings for precipitation. Dark
red indicates record driest March, and dark
green, record wettest for the month. (Credit:
NOAA)

National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration
(2008, April 19). Global Land Temperature Warmest
On Record In March 2008. ScienceDaily.
Retrieved April 19, 2008, from
http://www.sciencedaily.com°©
/releases/2008/04/080418112341.htm

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