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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 1999
February in Historical Perspective

National Climatic Data Center, March 17, 1999

Global Temp Anomalies, Feb
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February 1999 was dominated by mature La Niña (cold water) conditions in the east equatorial Pacific. This corresponded to colder than normal temperatures in western Europe and Australia, as well as northwestern Africa and South America . Suppression of the tropical jet stream allowed Central America and the southwestern North America to be warmer and drier than normal. The cold temperatures in western Europe kept the snow pack intact and promoted numerous fatal avalanches. Drought was widespread in southern Africa, a dry pattern that persisted from the previous month. Warm dry conditions was also pervasive over southeastern China.

Global mean land temperature anomalies for February (using a base period 1880-1998) are shown in the above figure. The anomaly for February 1999, 1.18 C, was well above the mean value. In fact, this was the third warmest February since 1880. The curved yellow line is a nine-point binomial filtered value which shows the decadal-scale variations.

Globally averaged precipitation for the month of February was 6.55 millimeters above the 1900-1998 mean. Although precipitation averaged well above normal for the globe as a whole, there were many areas that were drier than normal in February. (See the Global Analysis page for more information.) Global Land Precip, Feb
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Thanks to a near-persistent on-shore flow from the Pacific Ocean during February, most of the country remained much warmer than normal for the entire month except for California. This west-to-east onshore flow, or zonal flow, also allowed for drier than normal conditions for most of the country except for the Northwest, West, and the West-North Central Regions.
U.S. Temp Anomalies, Feb
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Preliminary data for February 1999 indicate that temperatures averaged across the contiguous United States were much above the long-term mean. February 1999 tied with 1976, 1991, and 1992 as the third warmest February since 1895. The bars in this graph are departures from the 1895-1998 mean.The curved line is a nine-point binomial filter which shows the decadal-scale variations.
February 1999 was the 30th driest February since 1895 for the contiguous United States, based on preliminary data. This contrasts sharply with the wet conditions of February last year. The bars in this graph are departures from the 1895-1998 mean. The curved line is a nine-point binomial filter which shows the decadal-scale variations. US Precip Anomalies, Feb
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Several weather related disasters occurred during the month of February 1999. Major events included an "Alaskan Cold Snap", heavy rains in the U.S. across the Pacific Northwest, and avalanches around the globe resulting in 98 fatalities. The avalanches were most numerous across portions of central and eastern Europe. The countries reporting the highest number of avalanche fatalities were Austria, Switzerland, France and Pakistan. A full report on selected global extremes is available under the Climate-Watch, February 1999 page.
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For further information, contact:

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

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