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
Lexile

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, climate scientists said.
 
The average temperature last month was 41.2 degrees - 7.3 degrees warmer than normal but three-tenths a degree behind the record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
 
It was unseasonably toasty for most of the country east of the Rockies, but a cool Pacific Northwest kept the national record from falling, 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 11,743 times but set cold records only 418 times.
 
An international science team's computer analysis of causes of extreme weather calculated that man-made global warming tripled the likelihood for the nation's unusually warm February. The mostly private team of researchers, called World Weather Attribution, uses accepted scientific techniques to figure if climate change plays a role in extreme events 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this," said Princeton University climate scientist Gabe Vecchi, who was part of the quick attribution study that was not peer reviewed.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 including Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor David Titley, who was on a National Academy of Sciences panel that 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, meteorologists said.
 
Overall, NOAA said it was the sixth warmest U.S. winter on record, about 3.7 degrees warmer than the 20th century average.
 
"You definitely do feel that this is going to be something that you get to enjoy now and you pay for after the fact," said Vecchi, who was 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 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 goose outbreaks and 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.
 
"What is lurking behind the corner while we're outside throwing a Frisbee might be looking to make our lives less pleasant," he 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 (35)
  • daniellel-bru
    3/14/2017 - 07:05 p.m.

    According to the article, "February was freakishly warm", we should expect some problems in the future in effect from this February. Oklahoma University meteology professor, Jason Fertando, says that he worries about the lack of deep cold plunges in February. This unnatural weather contributed to the Gulf of Mexico never cooling down. This could lead to severe storms such as thunderstorms, lightning, or tornadoes. Additionally, a March frost could kill early blooming trees and flowers. In the future, I think that people will see this type of weather happening more often and there is still more yet to come.

  • davidv-pel
    3/15/2017 - 08:54 a.m.

    Possible globe weather changes and freak storms.

  • vaneises-
    3/16/2017 - 08:40 a.m.

    Problems we can expect from this warm February are the lack of deep Arctic cold plunges which leads to 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 chance of outbreaks and increase the probability of nasty spring storms and tornadoes. Massachusetts already had an unprecedented February tornado.


  • malakaic-smi
    3/16/2017 - 11:11 a.m.

    The problems we can face from this warm February are droughts and/or heat exhaustion/heat stroke.

  • Desc-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 11:13 a.m.

    We can expect many problems from this warm February like the fact that many flowers will die and trees so the bees will not have anything to pollinate this season. Another thing is the fact that the summer will start earlier and earlier until it snows in July and is 80 F in December.

  • emmas-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 01:10 p.m.

    Problems from the warm February will cause more ticks and mosquitoes to be out lurking this spring.Since we had a reasonably warm winter, we should expect nasty spring storms and tornadoes. Frosting in March could also kill blooming trees and flowers.

  • brycem-smi
    3/16/2017 - 01:11 p.m.

    From this warm February we can expect problems such as increased temperatures overall. More ticks and mosquitoes will be out due to shorter winter temperatures. As well as Gulf water outbreaks increase the chances of freak storms and tornadoes, like Massachusetts has already experienced. These are some problems we can experience from this warm February.

  • gracyl-smi
    3/16/2017 - 01:11 p.m.

    A problem we can expect from a warm February is seeing more ticks and mosquitoes. Also a frost in March could cause early blooming plants and trees to die.

  • michaelz-smi
    3/16/2017 - 01:11 p.m.

    Problems we can expect from this warm February is that new blooming trees and flowers will die/and it will be very hot.

  • alexr-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 01:12 p.m.

    The problems that we can expect from this warm February is more storms and tornadoes. We can also expect warmer weather in the summer and next winter. Mosquitoes and ticks might be a problem too.

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