While conversations about the weather being warmer than usual abound as the summer months approach, this year they may be more than just hot air.
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 194 out of 281 weather stations stationed across the United States registered warmer than normal average temperatures in May 2022, compared to climate normals for the period of 1981 to 2010. The average temperature across all 281 weather stations was 63.0 degrees Fahrenheit for May 2022, a full degree warmer than normal. (These are 30 American beaches that may soon disappear.)
America is a diverse landscape with nine different climate regions, each subject to its own distinct oceanic and atmospheric weather patterns. While some U.S. cities are experiencing abnormally cool temperatures this spring, others are experiencing extreme heat.
To determine the cities with the most unusual weather this spring, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on average temperature in May 2022 and historical climate normals for May from the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Cities were ranked based on the absolute difference in average temperature for May 2022 compared to normal May temperatures for the period of 1981 to 2010.
The unusually high temperatures this spring are part of a larger trend of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions that have ultimately led to global temperatures 1.8°F higher than pre-industrial times. Higher-than-average temperature anomalies are also caused in part by La Niña, which is projected to continue into the Northern Hemisphere through summer 2022. (These are the 20 countries responsible for nearly all global emissions.)
Many are wondering whether the warm spring presages an even more abnormal summer. According to predictions from the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, temperature anomalies from May 2022 are likely to continue into June in many parts of the country. June 2022 is likely to be hotter than average in the southern and eastern U.S., and cooler than average in the Pacific Northwest. Western Texas and southern New Mexico will likely experience the warmest temperature anomalies, while the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota have the highest likelihood of below-average temperatures.
To determine the cities with the most unusual weather this spring, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on average temperature in May 2022 and historical climate normals for May from the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Cities were ranked based on the absolute difference in average temperature for May 2022 compared to normal May temperatures for the period 1981 to 2010.
Average citywide temperature in May 2022 was calculated for the period May 1 to May 31, 2022 using daily summaries data across all weather stations within a city in the Global Historical Climatology Network. Data on normal historical temperature for April was calculated for the period May 1 to May 31 using data on daily U.S. 1981-2010 climate normals for all weather stations within a city in the Global Historical Climatology Network. Only stations with congruent daily data for both the 2022 daily summaries and the historical 1981-2010 climate normals were included in the average temperature calculations. Weather stations were crosswalked to municipalities using 2021 boundary definitions for places from the U.S. Census Bureau. Only cities, towns, and census-designated places with at least 15,000 residents were considered. Population data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates.
Supplemental data on climate outlook for June 2022 and the likelihood of a warmer or cooler temperature came from the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, and are relative to climate normals for the 1991-2020 period.
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