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Galveston’s Record Warm Late Spring and Early Summer


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Galveston experienced its warmest December on record last year with a mean temperature of 69.9°, which crushed the old mark of 66.4° that had stood since 1889. The December temperature average was warm enough to qualify as that city's 7th warmest November on record. Since then, one or more record-breaking or record-tying high temperatures were set in each month. April 2022 was the warmest April on record with a mean temperature of 75.5° (old record: 75.0°, 1967 and 2017). Just five months after the historic December warmth, May experienced historic warmth that demolished the monthly record that was set in 2018.

The combination of dry conditions, development of a persistent heat dome, and much warmer than normal water temperatures amplified by the impact of climate change produced the record outcome.  Summary information on the impacts of climate change in the Houston and Galveston areas can be found here:

https://www.globalchange.gov/sites/globalchange/files/CCPR_HOU_brochure-final.pdf

For background information, the mean temperature rose 2.0° at Galveston from the 1961-1990 period to the 1991-2020 period. The number of 90° days rose particularly sharply. 

Annual temperature: 1961-90: 69.7°; 1991-20: 71.7°
Number of days with highs of 80° or above: 1961-90: 151.0 days; 1991-20: 175.7 days
Number of days with highs of 85° or above: 1961-90: 92.3 days; 1991-20: 126.0 days
Number of days with highs of 90° or above: 1961-90: 13.5 days; 1991-20: 58.2 days
Number of days with lows of 80° or above: 1961-90: 52.1 days; 1991-20: 62.3 days

The last year with fewer than 100 85° days was 1997 when there were 94 such days. The last year with fewer than 20 90° days was 1992 when there were just 7 such days.

80° warmth has now been occurring both earlier and later in the season as the "hot" season lengthens.

Number of days with highs of 80° or above in March-April: 1961-90: 1.1 days; 1991-20: 4.3 days
Number of days with highs of 80° or above in November-December: 1961-90: 0.5 days; 1991-20: 1.8 days

The synoptic pattern, regional drought, and warm sea surface temperatures occurred against the backdrop of a warming climate that was resulting in a dramatic increase in hot days. As a result, May 2022 essentially rewrote the record book  for warmth in May. 

Charts follow:

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Updates:

Warmest first week of June

Warmest June 1-15

Warmest June on Record

Stations with 3 consecutive record warm months with long periods of record (through June 2022)

Summers in Galveston

Stations with 3 consecutive record warm months with long periods of records (through July 2022)

Hottest July and Month on Record

 

 


 

 

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1 hour ago, StormchaserChuck! said:

Really cool, I noticed record High pressure in the SW and Alaska/warming, but I didn't think it would penetrate moisture. They are right on the GOM. 

SSTs near Galveston were running 3-4 degrees above normal.

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The impact of climate change can be seen from Galveston's monthly temperature records. None of Galveston's cold monthly records occurred during or after 2000. In contrast, 9 of the 12 warm monthly records occurred since 2000; 8 of 12 occurred since 2010; and, 4 of 12 have occurred since 2020. 

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In terms of annual records, the coldest year was 1979 with a mean temperature of 67.7°. The coldest year since 2000 was 2010 with a mean temperature of 70.2°. 2010 ranked as the 72nd coldest year overall. The warmest year was 2017 with a mean temperature of 74.4°. All of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2000.

For perspective, the 2000s currently account for 15.1% of Galveston’s climate record (May 1874 through May 2022).

 

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With a high temperature of 92° as of 2 pm CDT, Galveston has now had 5 consecutive days with high temperatures of 90° or above. The 5/29-6/2 period is the earliest such stretch of 5 consecutive days. The old record was 5/31-6/4/1875.

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At the same time it has been record cold in the Pac NW and southern BC, anomalies in WA state were close to -5 F deg. I live near the border north of Spokane and our trees only finished their normal mid-May full foliation cycle today. We can still see snow on top of nearby hills with summits of 7,000 to 8,000 ft. Last week there was still snow on even lower hilltops reaching 6,000 ft. Certainly normal to see snow on alpine slopes around here into July, but these lower hills are usually free of snow by early to mid May. 

As a result there was no spring flooding at all in the region as a lot of the snow is still up there. In 1948 a similar weather pattern turned very warm with heavy rain, and historic floods hit both the Fraser and Columbia Rivers. 

It was the end of June last year when we had the unprecedented heat dome and highs around here of 110 F. Hoping we don't see that this summer although even in a normal summer you can expect a few days in the 100-105 F range. 

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With a high temperature of 90° as of 4 pm CDT, Galveston has now had 6 consecutive days with high temperatures of 90° or above. The 5/29-6/3 period is the earliest such stretch of 6 consecutive days. The old record was 5/31-6/5/1875.

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Following back-to-back record warm months, Galveston recorded its warmest first week of June on record. The mean temperature was 85.6° (old record: 85.4°, 2008). The average high of 90.7° and average low of 80.4° both ranked second. Record high minimum temperatures were set on June 6 (83°; old record: 81°, 1974, 1990, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2020) and June 7 (83°; old record: 82°, 1990 and 1994).

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Yesterday (June 12), Galveston recorded a minimum temperature of 85°. That is the earliest such minimum temperature on record. The prior mark was 85°, which was set on June 21, 2019. From April 1-June 12, Galveston has had 29 record-breaking or record-tying minimum temperatures.

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At Galveston, which has seen two consecutive warm monthly records, June 1-15 was, by far, the warmest first half of June on record. The mean temperature was 87.1°. The old record was 85.3°, which was set in 2018. Galveston has already seen 9 days with low temperatures of 83° or above. The previous record for the entire month was 7 days. That record was set in 1994. Records go back to June 1874.

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On 6/22/2022 at 6:37 AM, donsutherland1 said:

Yesterday’s low temperature of 86 at Galveston was that city’s earliest such minimum temperature on record. The previous mark was set on August 8, 2019. 

Yuck. Poor overnight recovery is what makes big heatwaves truly miserable and deadly. No relief.

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  • donsutherland1 changed the title to Galveston’s Record Warm Late Spring and Early Summer

Galveston has seemingly been caught in summer's heat well before the summer even began.  April saw Galveston edge past its relatively fresh mark of 75.0° from 2017 with a mean temperature of 75.5°.

During May, the fire of summer burned all too hot for the close of spring. In terms of temperatures, the calendar had skipped ahead to June. The May 2022 average temperature of 83.0° demolished the 80.4° record that had been set in 2018. Prior to 2012, no May going back to 1875 had ever seen an average temperature of 80.0°.

The unrelenting heat continued through June melting the fairly recent record that displaced the prior longstanding record. June 1881 registered an average temperature of 85.5°. That record stood for 130 years until it was eclipsed with an 86.2° mean temperature in 2011. Eleven years later, that record was erased, as June 2022 logged in with a mean temperature of 87.5°. Never before had Galveston experienced such warmth in July, let alone June. Only three cases in August were hotter.

The combination of a warming climate, ongoing drought, persistent heat dome, and exceptionally warm coastal waters produced this outcome. Marine heatwaves have grown 20 times more common on account of anthropogenic climate change. During the month of June, the waters surrounding Galveston Island saw temperatures reaching 90°.

Marine heatwaves and/or drought/emergent aridification have been factors in recent years during long periods of exceptional warmth. They have been present in numerous areas when monthly warm temperature records have been set in three consecutive months. Galveston is the most recent such case.

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Cases where U.S. stations with long periods of record (POR) hold three consecutive record warm months are uncommon. To compile a list, the following criteria were used: 

  • Stations had at least 100 years of monthly data for the reference months (months for which the records were set)
  • All daily data was available in the record warm months or, when missing values were substituted with monthly minimum readings, the record was still intact.

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It should be noted that stations with shorter period of record have also had three consecutive record warm months. For example, McAllen, TX saw its warmest September, October, and November in 2016, but its period of record begins in June 1941. Anchorage, which experienced its warmest June, July, and August on record in 2019 with a climate record that goes back to November 1953 is another example.

Among the cases from stations with long periods of record that saw three consecutive record warm months, 69% have occurred since 2010. Primarily the cases can be found in areas where aridification is underway. The 1930s Dust Bowl era experienced conditions that mimicked the aridification that is underway in the Southwest on account of anthropogenic climate change. A number of stations having shorter periods of record are influenced by warming from marine heatwaves, which have also been increasing in frequency on account of anthropogenic climate change.

 Through June 2022, a total of 31 stations report three consecutive record warm months, but in the case of Trenton, the minimum temperature data for July 1865 is suspect and numerous dates had missing data. Most of the excluded stations had short periods of record. A few stations had large amounts of missing daily data for the record warm months. Out of the remaining 30 stations, 24 (80%) experienced their three consecutive record warm months during 2010 or later.

 

 

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In The Trappers of Arkansas published in 1876, Gustave Aimard wrote of Galveston:

Galveston is built on the small muddy islet of Sgt. Louis, which closes up the mouth of the Rio Trinidad. At that time the houses were low, built of wood, and surrounded by gardens planted with fragrant trees, which impregnated the atmosphere with delicious odors.

Unfortunately there is one thing that cannot alter—the climate… The suffocating heat that is summer prevails in the town corrodes the earth and changes it into an impalpable dust, in which you sink up to the knees, and which at the least breath of air, penetrates into the eyes, mouth, and nostrils… [T]hese grievous occurrences… render a residence at Galveston insupportable at times.

Today, summer’s fiery heat has grown even more intense. Like many areas, Galveston has been witnessing increasing summer heat on account of an expanding urban heat island and anthropogenic climate change. Summer heat that was once seemingly unthinkable is rapidly becoming the norm.

1875 was Galveston’s benchmark summer. Then, the small town of about 20,000 residents sweltered under unrelenting heat for much of the summer. Summer 1875 concluded with a mean temperature of 85.4°.

The years passed and the record remained unmatched. Decades passed and still the record stood. A century passed and 1875 stood alone at the top of the thermometer. It seemed that the record was destined to stand for all-time, even as the city grew rapidly to 250,000 people by 2000.

But then in 2005, the longstanding record was finally toppled. The much larger city experienced a summer average of 85.8°. Two years later, that mark would be vaporized by a figure of 87.3°.

Prior to 2005, 1875 was the only summer that had ever seen the mercury average 85° or above. Before 2010, just 3 of Galveston’s 135 (2.2%) summers had a mean temperature of 85° or above. But then, things changed dramatically.

From 2010 through 2021, 8 of the 12 summers—or two-thirds of summers—saw the temperature average 85° or above. That 12-year period saw summers average 85.3°, barely below the 1875 figure that had stood for 130 years. Summer 2022 is very likely to become yet another summer with a mean temperature of 85° or above following its historically warm June (87.5° mean temperature).

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The extraordinary heat in Galveston (warmest April, May, and June) and elsewhere in Texas (Austin and San Antonio recorded their warmest May and June) reflects a trend in which summers have been growing hotter in Texas. Since 1980, 69% of summers were hotter than the 30-year moving average. Since 2000, that figure has increased to 82%.


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Through July 14th, nearly 30% of Galveston’s record high minimum temperatures have been tied or broken during 2020-2022.

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For record high maximums, nearly 23% of records have been tied or broken during 2020-2022.

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Records go back to May 1874.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Galveston will very likely see summer 2022 come out with a mean temperature of 86.0° or above in Galveston. A record warm summer remains on the table.

The only summers that warm were:

2011: 87.3°
2020: 86.1°

Galveston has been experiencing warming summers. Since 1980, 86% of summers were warmer than the 30-year moving average. Since 2000, that figure has increased further to 91%.

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