Due to number of reasons, including global warming, temperatures are recorded diligently globally. Daily highs, daily lows, averages and the such are not just features on the local news nightly. These details when compiled can give scientists a better grasp of trends, the lengthy and short variety, and how temperatures could be fluctuating due to increasing overall global temperatures.
The data regarding the month of January was recently released by the National Climatic Data Center for the United States. The winter of 2011-2012 has been considered mild up to the month of January and the numbers in the recent report indicate as such. While the month of January 2012 is not the warmest on record, it did rank as fourth warmest for the contiguous U.S..
Overall the average temperature across the lower forty-eight states was 36.3 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the fourth warmest since 1895 for the month of January. The warmest on record remains 2006’s 39.7 degrees Fahrenheit. 37.2 degrees Fahrenheit was the average in both 1953 and 1990, rounding out the rankings above the year of 2012.
Despite being ranked fourth, the average of 36.3 degrees Fahrenheit is still 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit greater than the average between 1901 and 2000. As for snow, a main component as to why this winter is being considered mild, it ranks as the third lowest snow accumulation for the month of January in the last forty years.
Individual states were largely above normal as well, with nine states having average temperatures ranking in their individual state records of the ten warmest. These states include Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming. Two states had temperatures near their normal average but still above, Florida and Washington. However, no state experienced overall temperatures below average.
The Northeast as a whole experienced their 16th warmest month of January since records began. Some states saw temperatures drastically above average, although still not record breaking. Such is the case for the traditionally cold northern state of Minnesota, which had an average in January which was 10.1 degrees warmer.