WARMTH LEADS TO THE FIFTH WARMEST SPRING FOR UNITED STATES,
DRIEST SPRING ON RECORD ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST WORSENS DROUGHT
14, 2007 — The
fifth warmest spring on record for the contiguous United States occurred
in 2007, according to scientists at the NOAA
National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. A severe-weather
outbreak in the nation’s midsection brought devastating tornadoes
in early May, while a record-dry spring in the Southeast led to worsening
drought conditions. Continued extreme dryness in May east of the Mississippi
River and in the Far West expanded the drought area. The global land-surface
temperature was the highest for the month of May, as well as for boreal
spring. The combined global land- and ocean-surface temperature was
fourth warmest for May, and tied with 1998 as the warmest January-May
period. (Click NOAA image for larger view of May 2007 statewide
temperature rankings. Please credit “NOAA.”)
Temperature Highlights for May
the contiguous United States, the average temperature for May was
63.14 degrees F (17.30 degrees C), which was 2.08 degrees F (1.16
degrees C) above the 20th century mean and the 11th warmest May on
record, based on preliminary data.
May, most of the contiguous United States was warmer-than-normal with
only Texas and South Carolina colder-than-normal for the month.
had its 16th warmest May since official records began in 1918, 1.40
degrees F (0.78 degrees C) above normal. However, spring overall was
the 38th coolest for the state, 1.73 degrees F (0.96 degrees C) below
May temperatures in the northern United States combined with cooler-than-average
temperatures in the Southeast and parts of Texas created milder overall
conditions and helped decrease residential energy needs for the nation.
Using the Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI - an
index developed at NOAA to relate energy usage to climate), the nation's
residential energy demand was approximately 4.4 percent lower than
what would have occurred under average climate conditions for the
Temperature Highlights for Spring
spring 2007 (March-May), the average temperature for the continental
United States was 54.38 degrees F (12.43 degrees C), which was 2.49
degrees F (1.38 degrees C) above the 20th century mean and the fifth
warmest spring on record, based on preliminary data. The four warmest
springs in order are 1910, 2004, 2000 and 1934.
was the third warmest spring for Wyoming and Missouri, while it was
the fourth for Illinois and Nevada. This was the fifth warmest spring
on record for the Central and Western North-Central regions of the
country. (Click NOAA image for larger view of March-May 2007
statewide temperature rankings. Please credit “NOAA.”)
energy demand was closer to normal nationwide based on the REDTI (approximately
1 percent lower than average). The effect of near-average to cooler-than-average
spring temperatures on energy demand for heating in the heavily populated
Northeast and parts of the South was offset by warmer-than-average
temperatures in the central and western United States.
Precipitation Highlights for May
May, the average precipitation for the continental United States was
2.65 inches (67.31 mm), which is 0.22 inches (5.67 mm) below the 20th
century mean, but near the long-term average, based on preliminary
2007 was the driest on record for Georgia, while it was third driest
for Ohio and Alabama, and the Southeast Region overall. By contrast,
parts of the High Plains and Southwest were wetter than normal in
May. Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota all much wetter-than-normal
for the month. (Click NOAA image for larger view of May 2007
statewide precipitation rankings. Please credit “NOAA.”)
Precipitation Highlights for Spring
average spring precipitation for the contiguous United States was
6.91 inches (175.51 mm), which was 0.80 inches (20.24 mm) below the
20th century mean and the 23rd driest spring in the observed climate
record dating back to 1895.
was the driest spring on record for Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama
and Georgia. On the regional scale, the middle third of the United
States was wetter or much wetter-than-normal, while the Southeast
Region had its driest spring on record.
34 percent of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional
drought in early June, according to the federal U.S.
impacts have included low streamflows and mountain snowpack, parched
soils and pastureland, and numerous wildfires. The dry conditions
across the Southeast worsened wildfire activity during May across
Florida and southern Georgia. (Click NOAA image for larger
view of March-May 2007 statewide precipitation rankings. Please credit
drought conditions were felt across the Southeast, with drought spreading
across parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida,
and North Carolina.
past 12 month period was driest on record for California and Nevada.
The abnormally dry conditions have led to severe-to-extreme drought
from the southern California coast eastward to Arizona and north along
the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Great Basin.
combined global land and ocean surface temperature for May was the
fourth warmest on record, 0.95 degrees F/0.53 degrees C above the
20th century mean. The global surface temperature for the combined
January-May period tied with 1998 as the warmest January-May on record.
the global land-surface temperature was the warmest on record for
May, as well as for boreal spring (March-May) and the year-to-date
period. The May ocean-surface temperature was the ninth warmest in
the 128-year period of record as near-average to cooler-than-average
conditions were present across the equatorial Pacific.
the past century, global surface temperatures have increased at a
rate near 0.11 degrees F (0.06 degrees C) per decade, but the rate
of increase has been three times larger since 1976, or 0.32 degrees
F (0.18 degrees C) per decade, with some of the largest temperature
increases occurring in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S.
Commerce Department, is celebrating 200
years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment
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1870s, much of America’s scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
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is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
Note to Editors: May 2007 data, graphics and analysis, are
online at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2007/may/may07.html.
Relevant Web Sites
2007 Data, Graphics and Analysis
National Overview - May 2007
of 2007 - May in Historical Perspective
John Leslie, NOAA
Satellite and Information Service, (301) 713-1265