Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spring Climate Summary

As many of you have probably seen in the news, it was a very hot spring (March, April, and May) in the contiguous United States.  As reported by the National Climatic Data Center, it was the warmest spring observed in contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895 with an average temperature of 57.1ºF, 5.2ºF higher than the long term (1901–2000) average.  This spring eclipsed the previous warmest spring (1910) by 2.0ºF.  Many states recorded their all-time warmest spring.  Only Oregon and Washington observed near-average temperatures.

Source: NCDC
The spring statewide average temperature for Utah was the 8th highest on record.  Thus, it was a warm spring in Utah, but not unprecedented.  

Spring (Mar-May) Utah Temperature
Source: NCDC
Records for Salt Lake City go back only to 1948, but show that this was the 2nd warmest spring on record.  Spring of 1992 was warmer, with an average temperature of 57.3ºF compared with 54.8ºF this spring.  

Spring (Mar-May) Salt Lake City Temperature
Source: NCDC 
The anomalously high spring temperatures on the heels of a dry winter are a primary cause of the high fire danger that exists across Utah and much of the southwest.  

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