February was freakishly warm Sydney Dollmeyer, seated left, and Emily Daly, right, enjoy lunch in the sun along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, on the warmest February day ever recorded in Boston. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes/AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
February was freakishly warm
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A freakishly balmy February broke more than 11,700 local daily records for warmth in the United States. But it didn't quite beat 1954 for the warmest February on record. This is according to climate scientists.
 
The average temperature last month was 41.2 degrees. That was 7.3 degrees warmer than normal. But it was three-tenths a degree behind the record. That is according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
 
It was unseasonably toasty for most of the country east of the Rockies. But a cool Pacific Northwest kept the national record from falling. So said NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch.
 
Chicago had no snow. Oklahoma hit 99 degrees. Texas and Louisiana had their hottest February. NOAA said local weather stations broke or tied warm temperature records. This happened 11,743 times. But cold records were set only 418 times.
 
An international science team did a computer analysis. It looked at causes of extreme weather. It calculated that man-made global warming tripled the likelihood for the nation's unusually warm February. The mostly private team of researchers is called World Weather Attribution. The team uses accepted scientific techniques to figure if climate change plays a role in extreme events. These are based on computer simulations of real world conditions and those without heat-trapping gases.
 
"I don't recall ever seeing a February like this," said Gabe Vecchi. He is a climate scientist. Vecchi works at Princeton University.  It is in New Jersey.  He was part of the quick attribution study that was not peer reviewed. "We expect this to happen with more and more frequency over time."
 
Several outside scientists praised the quick study. One was Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor David Titley. He was on a National Academy of Sciences panel. It certified the accuracy of climate change attribution science.
 
"This is the new climate normal that we all need to come to grips with," Titley said. "And it's stunning how quickly our climate has changed."
 
Natural random weather variations and climate change combined to make it a weird February.
 
Overall, NOAA said it was the sixth warmest U.S. winter on record. It was about 3.7 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.
 
You may get to enjoy it now and pay for it later, Vecchi said. He went biking in short-sleeves in New Jersey last month.
 
Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado said he worries that the lack of deep Arctic cold plunges in February. It means the Gulf of Mexico never cooled down. And when severe weather season in the spring starts, the moisture coming north from warmer Gulf waters will increase the probability of nasty spring storms and tornadoes. Massachusetts already had an unprecedented February tornado.
 
A March frost could kill early blooming trees and flowers. And the lack of a proper winter could lead to more mosquitoes and ticks this year, Vecchi said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What problems can we expect from this warm February?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (4)
  • ansleyt-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 01:59 p.m.

    Problems we can expect this year are global warming, and the usual temperature will change causing tornados ,and other severe storms.

  • biancar-ver
    3/17/2017 - 09:14 a.m.

    It can cause more global warming. It's crazy how February was warm just only few times, many other states their was a lot of people with out even a jacket because it was to hot and they were outside all day. Now the weather it's back to normal.

  • samathau-bur
    3/27/2017 - 12:52 p.m.

    Since it was so warn in February, that means that the Arctic temperatures didn't plunge like normal which means that the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a chance to cool down. So when the severe weather starts in the spring, the moisture coming north from warmer Gulf waters will increase the chance of horrible spring weather and tornadoes. I think that meteorologists should definitely be checking the radars this spring now that the chance of us having a tornado or other natural disasters, has risen. I think we should also take precautions because it could be unpredictable just like the tornado that already occurred in Massachusetts.

  • sylviao-pay
    4/03/2017 - 08:13 a.m.

    the article is mainly about how global warming really came to effect during February. the warm climate during the time was excessively high compared cold climate that occurred over the year. places like Chicago showed little to no snow during February and the temperature wad over 7 degrees 0f the average tempresure

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