Wednesday, March 6, 2013

February temperature and precipitation

Unsurprisingly to nearly everyone who lives in the state it turns out that February was both wetter and colder than long-term climate averages in Connecticut. This is true for both the Bridgeport and Hartford National Weather Service climate stations. Having said that, coastal regions and areas in the central part of the state deviated more from the norm than other locations. One would have to go back years in order to find a month for the state that featured both more precipitation than usual and colder than average temperatures. Last November was the first month in a few years to see the temperature dip below normal but it coincided with extremely dry weather.

For the month of February the Bridgeport climate station averaged 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit below normal and in Hartford it was -0.5 degrees Fahrenheit under. These are not large deviations by any means but when the new normal in our world of climate change is being several degrees above average each month this is a notable drop. Considering the Blizzard of 2013 I am a little hesitant to take the given precipitation totals as I believe they underestimate the amount of liquid water we received by a significant amount. I feel like there should be an inch or two more of water in there considering all of the other precipitation we received as well. For what it's worth Bridgeport was 2.23 inches above normal and Hartford was 0.87 over the long-term average.

Apparently it takes a major or historic snowstorm in order for us to find a way to get the temperature below average for a given month. The Blizzard of 2013 was literally the largest or second largest snowfall on record for any month in many areas of the state, and the greatest negative temperature departures in the month of February were firmly in place around it. If you think back to November you should remember another significant snowfall for the coast as Bridgeport had 8.3 inches from a storm early in the month. While Hartford only had 2.5 inches from it any snowfall in the first week of November is notable for the state. This of course took place with the average temperature decreased drastically in that part of the month. We do not typically get that chilly right after Halloween even though we have now had two years of October and November snowfalls.

This, while not being indicative on its own of climate change, is what climate change is all about - bringing us abnormal weather and more extremes while blurring the line between seasons. It is not about the end of snowfall with hot summers and temperate winters as "global warming" heats things up. It is about priming what we can call the weather system on this planet with more power than we have ever seen because of the increasing temperature and producing outcomes that we never imagined or cannot deal with appropriately.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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