John Christy has a perspective on how warm the Shoals was in 2012.
“If you’re 58 years old or younger, this was the warmest year you’ve experienced,” said Christy, a climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “No years between 1954 and now were warmer.”
Christy said the data through November indicated 2012 was on track to be the warmest year for the Shoals since 1954. On Monday, he said December’s weather did nothing to alter that course.
“I don’t calculate it until the actual data is in, but December was very warm,” he said.
That doesn’t mean it’s been warm all year. Christy said months such as August, October and November were below normal.
“But that first part of the year was so far above normal, it really drove it,” he said. “The main issue was what happened in late winter” 2011-12.
For example, March temperatures in the Shoals were about 10 degrees above average, ranking it as the warmest on record, according to UAH’s Alabama Climate Report.
Other figures the report provided for north Alabama include:
As for what to expect for this winter, Christy said the Pacific Ocean could play a role. He said the Pacific is in a “neutral condition,” meaning there is not a warm El Nino or cool La Nina ocean pattern. A neutral condition enhances the chance for cold, wintry results in the southern United States.
“One thing that happens during a neutral condition is an arctic outbreak in the Southeast,” Christy said. “That’s not to say it’s going to happen, but conditions are prime for it.”
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or email@example.com.