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 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 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 He was part of the quick attribution study that was not peer reviewed.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 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. 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, 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. 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 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 (29)
  • seyonniek-
    3/15/2017 - 10:20 a.m.

    That there will conditions to these such actions like it will be cold in a warm month because it was warm in a cold month.

  • kimberlyc-
    3/16/2017 - 08:41 a.m.

    We could face spring storms,tornadoes,it can kill blooming trees and flowers which would lead up to mosquitoes and ticks.

  • genesisj-
    3/16/2017 - 01:00 p.m.

    we can expect that it can be fall on one month than winter than spring.

  • lexyr-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 01:11 p.m.

    Some of the problems we can expect from this warm February is that the lack of a proper winter in February could lead to a March frost killing early blooming trees and flowers. Another major problem that could be expected from this warm February could be that the lack of a moderately cold winter is that it could lead to more mosquitoes and ticks this year.

  • maecynnp-smi
    3/16/2017 - 01:14 p.m.

    Some problems we can expect from this warm February is the moisture will cause outbreaks and increase the probability of storms and tornadoes. Another thing is the increase of mosquitoes and ticks. We also have the possibility of the blooming trees and flowers could die. Those are some problems we could expect from this warm February.

  • aidend-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 02:04 p.m.

    Some problems we can expect from this warm February are we could have global warming. Another problem is there could be a really cold March an that could kill the growing flowers, plants, and trees. There is one more that I would like to say, it means the Gulf of Mexico never cooled down. And when severe weather season in the spring starts, moisture coming from the north from warmer Gulf waters will goose outbreaks and increase the probability of nasty spring tornadoes and storms.

  • laurenw-smi1
    3/16/2017 - 03:31 p.m.

    The problems that we can expect from this past warm February are extreme and harsh spring tornadoes and storms, caused by the moisture coming north from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A winter frost in March could also result in the dying of trees and flowers that are blooming early in the springtime. If our temperatures continue to be warm longer than expected or usual and a normal winter does not take place, this could cause a major outbreak in mosquitoes and ticks for this year. These are real conflicts that we may face, due to our unique warm months, that should be chilly rather than warm.

  • gmandy-dav
    3/16/2017 - 04:01 p.m.

    In response to "February was freakishly warm
    ," I agree that it was definatly warm. One reason I agree is that usually in february it's sopose to be cold. It defiantly felt unusually warm like it does in the spring time or summer time. Another reason is that instead of it being cold it was warm out. I even hung out with some friends to have water fun. It says in the article "I don't recall ever seeing a February like this,". Even though It was really hot at times, I think
    It was really fun to go swimming and do other stuff that you couldn't do outside when its cold. I thought it was really fun! And didn't really mind it at all.

  • bkyle-dav
    3/16/2017 - 06:11 p.m.

    In response to "February was Freakishly warm," I would like warm weather like that. One reason I would like warm weather like that is that it can be a pretty day outside and it is warm and it can be like that everyday. Another reason is that if it is really warm then it would be a great day to play outside, or go to the park, or play sports and other things.A third reason is that you now don't have to worry about the cold weather stopping you from doing stuff and do what you want to do. In the article it said,""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.". Even though warm temperatures might cause something dangerous, I think
    it is well worth for the warm weather.

  • hjake-dav
    3/16/2017 - 06:17 p.m.

    It was pretty warm. It could cause many problems, with March being so warm, it could kill off plants and blooming flowers. Also, we can expected more mosquitoes and ticks.

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