Some very responsible and intelligent people in the U.S. seem to have closed a blind eye to the troubling and uncertain weather patterns that are frequently shifting and producing a cluster of record temperatures. After a summer, which gave us 16 consecutive warmer than average months, October’s temperatures reflected cooler that average climate. Some at the National Climatic Data Center claim that the slightest change in weather could quite frequently bring unpredictable weather in its path. October brought the hybrid storm Sandy, which devastated the U.S. Mid-Atlantic States resulting in the deaths of at least 119. A further 67 lives was lost to the storm in Cuba and Haiti, which were also dealt devastating blows. An unprecedented heat wave afflicted Brazil and Bolivia. Cyclone Nilam struck southern India triggering deadly floods. A rare heavy snowfall occurred in the mountains of Australia west of Sydney.
It’s clear from the reports that these changes are occurring worldwide.
Despite the cool month of October, the USA is still enduring its warmest year on record, so far: “The January-October period was the warmest first ten months of any year on record for the contiguous U.S.,” the climate center report noted. “The national temperature of 58.4 degree was 3.4 degrees above the 20th century average, and 1.1°F above the previous record warm January-October of 2000.”
The most powerful storm ever to strike the New Jersey coast, Hurricane Sandy, resulted in the loss of life of at least 110 people from Maryland to New Hampshire, the 2nd deadliest tropical storm to affect the U.S. in 40 years. Since the storm has been well covered already on Weather Underground by Jeff Masters, Angela Fritz, and myself in earlier blogs I will not rehash that information in this blog.
A powerful anti-cyclone swept out of Canada and deep into the southern plains the first and second weeks of October. The temperature fell from 80°F (26.7°C) at Livingston, Montana on October 2nd to freezing with 2.4” of snow the following day. Denver saw 86° (30°C) on October 3rd and snow on October 5th. High winds gusting to 75 mph and sustained at over 50 mph from North Dakota to Oklahoma caused dust storms in western Kansas and Oklahoma briefly causing the interstate highways in the region to close following numerous traffic accidents.
Lihue, Hawaii (on the island of Kaua’i) tied its all-time maximum temperature record with a 91°F (32.8°C) reading on October 9th. This temperature has been measured on five other occasions in the past, most recently on September 4, 1936.
The lowest temperature measured in the northern hemisphere during October was -50.3°C (-58.5°F) at Neem, Greenland on October 31st.
Outside of the U.S. temperatures were cold as well. It was a cold October with temperature average falling to below 12 degrees C – nearly half a degree lower than the normal October average, says the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa).
ore low pressure fronts affected New Zealand than usual and brought with them frequent southwest winds.
The cooler temperatures were most keenly felt in the south and southwest of the South Island, whereas the winds made for a very dry October throughout the east coast of the North Island.
“Well below average temperatures – around 1.2C below the October average – were observed over the south and west of the South Island, as well as between Mt Ruapehu and Hamilton and including inland Bay of Plenty, reflecting the frequent southwest winds during the month.
“For north Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, the southwest North Island between Wellington and Taranaki, and for the north and east of the North Island, temperatures were generally near average – within 0.5C of the October average,” a spokeswoman said.
Niwa said the nation-wide average temperature in October 2012 was 11.8C – about 0.4C below the 1971-2000 October average.
The threat of drought has already begun in parts of the North Island.
Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa all recorded drier soils than normal for this time of year.
Soil moisture levels were also below normal for the eastern Bay of Plenty, from Auckland to Whangarei, in Central Otago, and around Whanganui.
Niwa had already predicted the next three months over summer will be a hot and dry.