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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 1998

U.S. Regional Analysis of 1998 Climate

National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC
January 12, 1999
Standard Regions for Temperature and Precipitation
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    Several regions saw record or near-record anomalies during 1998. As seen in the following table, the Northeast region had the warmest year on record in 1998, and the Central and East North Central regions ranked second warmest (103rd coolest). The year was the tenth warmest or warmer for all regions except the West and Southwest. Only the West region ranked in the cool half of the historical distribution, with a rank of 40th coolest.
Table 1.  PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE RANKS, BASED
	  ON THE PERIOD 1895-1998.  1 = DRIEST/COLDEST,
	  104 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR DECEMBER 1998,
	  104 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR NOV-DEC 1998,
	  104 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR JUL-DEC 1998,
	  104 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR JAN-DEC 1998.

                                DEC    NOV-DEC    JUL-DEC    JAN-DEC
          REGION              1998     1998       1998       1998
           ------              ----  ---------  ---------  ---------

                     PRECIPITATION:

          NORTHEAST              7        2          3         73
          EAST NORTH CENTRAL    16       38         36         79
          CENTRAL               47       30         36         90

          SOUTHEAST             45       30         31         81
          WEST NORTH CENTRAL    62       91         96         96
          SOUTH                 54       59         92         64

          SOUTHWEST             19       22         69         70
          NORTHWEST             81       94         78         99
          WEST                  13       49         55        103

          NATIONAL              33       41         61        100

                     TEMPERATURE:

          NORTHEAST             99       95         98        104
          EAST NORTH CENTRAL    91       98        103        103
          CENTRAL               88       95        100        103

          SOUTHEAST             96      100        103        101
          WEST NORTH CENTRAL    73       90        102        100
          SOUTH                 68       93        102        101

          SOUTHWEST             62       79         93         87
          NORTHWEST             42       70        103        100
          WEST                  39       51         76         40

          NATIONAL              84      102        104        103
Precipitation for the year ranked all 9 regions in the wet half of the historical distribution, in spite of several very dry episodes during 1998. The West region had the wettest rank, and the second wettest year on record.

Table 2 shows the 1998 annual values, the annual extremes, and 1961-1990 annual normal precipitation and temperature for the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S.

TABLE 2.  EXTREMES, 1961-90 NORMALS, AND 1998 VALUES
          FOR JANUARY-DECEMBER

            PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
                              DRIEST     WETTEST   NORMAL  1998
          REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   PCPN   PCPN
          ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

         NORTHEAST          31.77 1930 53.79 1996  41.63  42.54
         EAST NORTH CENTRAL 19.81 1910 36.63 1951  30.50  32.08
         CENTRAL            30.56 1930 53.38 1990  43.05  47.74

         SOUTHEAST          37.56 1954 62.39 1929  51.03  54.48
         WEST NORTH CENTRAL 11.49 1934 22.86 1915  16.92  19.90
         SOUTH              23.40 1917 46.91 1973  35.72  36.87

         SOUTHWEST           7.68 1956 22.10 1941  13.64  14.31
         NORTHWEST          19.00 1929 37.30 1996  27.50  32.81
         WEST                9.97 1947 31.47 1983  16.51  26.84

         NATIONAL           24.17 1910 33.99 1973  29.46  32.61*

                             * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                               INTERVAL + OR -  .19 INCHES

                                TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)
                              COLDEST    WARMEST   NORMAL  1998
          REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   TEMP   TEMP
          ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

         NORTHEAST           43.1 1904  49.3 1998   46.1   49.3
         EAST NORTH CENTRAL  39.5 1917  48.0 1931   43.5   47.7
         CENTRAL             50.6 1917  56.9 1921   53.2   56.3

         SOUTHEAST           61.0 1901  65.0 1921   62.4   64.7
         WEST NORTH CENTRAL  39.9 1916  46.7 1934   43.3   45.6
         SOUTH               60.4 1979  64.9 1921   62.0   64.5

         SOUTHWEST           49.5 1912  54.6 1934   51.8   52.8
         NORTHWEST           44.1 1955  50.2 1934   46.7   48.6
         WEST                53.0 1911  57.8 1934   55.0   54.6

         NATIONAL            50.7 1917  54.7 1934   52.4   54.6*

                             * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                               INTERVAL + OR -  .0 DEG. F.

Considerable month-to-month variability in precipitation and temperature occurred during 1998. The following bar graphs show the January-December monthly precipitation and temperature anomalies for each of the 9 regions. The precipitation and temperature indices are expressed in terms of standard deviations from the norm: positive values are wet or warm, negative values are dry or cold.

    Record and near-record extremes occurred in several regions during certain seasons:
    ENC Region, Jan-May Temperature, 1895-1998 Time Series
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    The East North Central region had the wettest January-March period on record in 1998.
    The Southern Plains to Gulf Coast started 1998 with unusually wet conditions, with January-March 1998 being the wettest such 3-month period on record for the Southeast region. SE Region, Jan-Mar Precipitation, 1895-1998 Time Series
    larger image
    By late spring, however, severe drought with unusually warm temperatures had developed across the Southern Plains to Gulf Coast . This area had the driest April-June period on record in 1998, and the warmest May-November.
    The South region had the third warmest July-September on record in 1998. Southern Region, Jul-Sep Temperature, 1895-1998 Time Series
    larger image
    West Region, Jan-Jun Precipitation, 1895-1998 Time Series
    larger image
    El Nino-driven rain and snow brought unusually wet conditions to the West region during the first half of the year, with January-June 1998 ranking as the wettest January-June on record.
    The West region precipitation was accompanied by unusually cold conditions during late spring and early summer, with April-June 1998 ranking as the second coolest April-June on record. West Region, Apr-Jun Temperature, 1895-1998 Time Series
    larger image
    Temperatures turned unusually warm during late summer and early fall over much of the western U.S. The Rocky Mountains to West Coast area had the warmest July-September period on record in 1998. Far West Region, Jul-Sep Temperature, 1895-1998 Time Series
    larger image

For more information, refer to ...
References:

Thomas R. Karl and Albert J. Koscielny, 1982: "Drought in the United States: 1895-1981." Journal of Climatology, vol. 2, pp. 313-329.

Thomas R. Karl and Walter James Koss, 1984: "Regional and National Monthly, Seasonal, and Annual Temperature Weighted by Area, 1895-1983." Historical Climatology Series 4-3, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC, 38 pp.

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is the world's largest active archive of weather data. The preliminary temperature and precipitation rankings are available from the center by calling: 828-271-4800 or on the World Wide Web at: http:/www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/documentlibrary/cvb.html

Historical precipitation and temperature ranking maps are also available on the Internet at: http://nic.fb4.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring/usa.html.

NOAA works closely with the academic and science communities on climate-related research projects to increase the understanding of El Niño and improve forecasting techniques. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center monitors, analyzes and predicts climate events ranging from weeks to seasons for the nation. NOAA also operates the network of data buoys and satellites that provide vital information about the ocean waters, and initiates research projects to improve future climate forecasts. The long lead climate outlooks are available on the Internet at: http://nic.fb4.noaa.gov.

For further information, contact:

    Mike Changery
    NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
    151 Patton Avenue
    Asheville, NC 28801-5001
    fax: 828-271-4328
    email: mchangry@ncdc.noaa.gov
-or-
    David Easterling
    NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
    151 Patton Avenue
    Asheville, NC 28801-5001
    fax: 828-271-4328
    email: david.easterling@noaa.gov
-or-
    Rob Quayle
    NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
    151 Patton Avenue
    Asheville, NC 28801-5001
    fax: 828-271-4328
    email: rquayle@ncdc.noaa.gov

NCDC / Climate Resources / Climate of 1998 / Annual / U.S. Regional Analysis / Search / Help


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