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, climate scientists said.
 
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, 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 cold records were set 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 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 Princeton University climate scientist Gabe Vecchi. He was part of the quick attribution study that was not peer reviewed.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 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. Heo 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. 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.
 
"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 (132)
  • samanthas2-jen
    3/14/2017 - 10:33 a.m.

    warm febuary can warm up the golf wall it is still warming up and it can cause tornadoes and hurricanes and harsh thunderstormes and other natrel disasters like that

  • calebc1-jen
    3/14/2017 - 10:38 a.m.

    You can probably expect more global warming in the
    future

  • zhaiyt1-jen
    3/14/2017 - 10:39 a.m.

    We can expect more mosquitoes and ticks from this warm February and the possibility of more spring storms like tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

  • angelax-bur
    3/14/2017 - 11:15 a.m.

    Some problems we can expect from this warm February are, more mosquitoes/fleas, strong tornadoes and storms, a March frost can kill flowers and plants. According to the text, "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." I wonder what will happen in my area now that it is in March. Will I experience the heavy storms and more bugs?

  • dylant-bur
    3/14/2017 - 02:32 p.m.

    random weather one day it could be cold next day it could be hot

  • dylant-bur
    3/14/2017 - 02:33 p.m.

    it mess is up the flowers and trees by it being cold

  • olivial-orv
    3/14/2017 - 08:45 p.m.

    Problems we can expect? During summer, there will be more mosquito. Why? Because biting cold winters kill the bugs off, and because we had one of the warmest winters ever, many of the bugs died. Ergo, more pesky bugs.

  • shaylap-bur
    3/15/2017 - 08:25 a.m.

    One of the problems is tripling the threat of global warming. February for me was really warm on some days.

  • wesleya-
    3/15/2017 - 10:15 a.m.

    Climates changing

  • jackiek-orv
    3/15/2017 - 11:30 a.m.

    the problems can we expect from this warm weather is winter starting early, more animals going extinct,or no more winter. And this proves global warming or climate change is real.

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