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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 06/22/2010

2010: Warmest spring on record for Washington D.C.

By Jason Samenow

The National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. released the following public statement yesterday:

... Record or near record warmest spring set in the Washington DC-Baltimore area...
Astronomical spring for 2010... defined as March 20 to June 20 in the Northern Hemisphere... was the warmest on record at both Washington National D.C. and Washington Dulles. At Washington D.C. ... the average spring temperature of 66.7 degrees broke the old record of 66.3 degrees set in 1991. At Dulles... the average spring temperature of 64.5 degrees broke the old record of 63.1 degrees set in 1991. Official climate records date back to 1871 for Washington DC and 1962 for Dulles.
At Baltimore... the average spring temperature of 64.0 degrees was just 0.1 degree shy of the all-time warmest spring temperature set in 1991. Official climate records date back to 1870 for Baltimore.

By Jason Samenow  | June 22, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Local Climate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: PM Update: Summer solstice brings more 90s
Next: Natcast: A royally hot evening


Some, no doubt, will try and link this to global warming, but, in actuality, it was a more or less persistant ridging over the Eastern part of the country that kept the Jet Stream north of us most of the time and warm air locked in over the region. The ridging here in the East was countered by a strong trough over the Western states, particularly the West Coast.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | June 22, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Jargon: it's better than science!

Posted by: jiji1 | June 22, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Quite the year of extremes: We go from the snowiest winter on record to the warmest spring on record...

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | June 22, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Jason - maybe the law of averages asserting itself? Seems like the atmosphere experiences one extreme, the other inevitably shows up at some point.

I guess what I am interested in is why it's so hot. Ridging, yes - but what causes the ridging? Is it ENSO? Something else? Or more likely, a combination of a bunch of stuff?

This is the hottest June I can remember - thankfully, heat doesn't bother me like it used to, but still, awful lot of 90+ days for late June!

Posted by: jahutch | June 22, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I laugh now at all the people during winter who were saying global warming is a myth.

Posted by: Thundershock | June 22, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Global warming is a myth.

Posted by: koggly | June 22, 2010 4:21 AM | Report abuse

The jet stream is real.

Posted by: koggly | June 22, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse

The beautiful Iowa glacial deposit I grew up on top of, which was created by a glacier during non-man-caused-global-cooling perhaps 10-15,000 years ago, and took its present form as the glacier retreated as a result of subsequent non-man-caused-global-warming, is real.

Posted by: koggly | June 22, 2010 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Global warming is real. MWP warming was also real (despite statistical manipulations to the contrary) and the cooling in between was real. In fact MWP sea levels were the same or up to 0.5m higher than today. Further back there were other warm periods back into the Holocene when sea levels were up to 1-2 meters higher. Sea level is a pretty good indication of global warming due to thermal expansion and nontrivial melting of Greenland.

But those sea level rises took thousands of years. The current warming is no different in terms of what has happened and what will likely happen. Greenland is not going to melt unless a model that shows extreme warming comes true (many times more than the few degrees C that may come from climate sensitivity). So why the alarm?

Posted by: eric654 | June 22, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse


No doubt the large scale ridging put us in a warm pattern irrespective of any global warming impact. The relevant question with respect to global warming is: if there were not elevated GHG concentrations (from human activities) in the atmosphere, would we still have set this record? In other words, did global warming provide a nudge to make what would've been a very warm spring, a record warm spring?

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | June 22, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

true, the jet stream is real. while the local conditions in washington might be indicative of a seasonal weather pattern, it's not just warm in washington:

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for May, March-May (Northern Hemisphere spring-Southern Hemisphere autumn), and the period January-May according to NOAA. Worldwide average land surface temperature for May and March-May was the warmest on record while the global ocean surface temperatures for both May and March-May were second warmest on record, behind 1998.

taken in isolation even those stats don't "prove" anything (except that it's been hot this year), but taken along with melting glaciers, decades of increasing warmth, species migration, seasonal "drift" and so forth, they make a pretty good case for GW. given our understanding of (and emission of) co2, there's pretty good cause to put an "A" in front of the "GW".

as to eric's point about effects, and how/whether it will be catastrophic...that's another issue with a lot more uncertainty.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 22, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Walter, no doubt there is at least a little "a" in front of aGW thanks to our additional CO2, but the consideration of PDO shows that some late 20th century acceleration and the recent deceleration of warming was natural.

The effects you mention like seasonal drift, species migration, glacier recession, occurred in most cases with greater magnitude in the MWP thanks to GW. So why don't more people on your side of the argument point out that sea levels were up to 1/2 meter higher in the MWP? Wouldn't that be cause enough for alarm?

Posted by: eric654 | June 22, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

the MWP happened "all by itself". now, we are amplifying/adding to whatever natural warming mother nature may have in store for us. if it went up 1/2 meter back in the MWP w/o our "help", then i don't think it's unreasonable to think we could make it go up more than that.

do we know, or think we know, what caused the MWP?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Or we are overriding the cooling that MN has in store for us. For sure we are warming, but there are indications that MN would be cooling now or soon were it not for our warming.

The MWP was probably a conjunction of increased solar irradiation and lack of volcanic eruptions. It ended with solar minimums, increased volcanism and other factors that might be causes or effects (e.g. decreased thermohaline circulation)

Posted by: eric654 | June 22, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought you weather types consider Spring to run from Mar 1 thru May 31... is it still a record if you calculate it that way?

Posted by: spgass1 | June 22, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

spgass1, I thought about that too. Maybe someone was bored in the NWS climate office. I can't recall an astronomical record being noted in the past..

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | June 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"In fact MWP sea levels were the same or up to 0.5m higher than today."

Citation, please? Church et al. (2008, stated that "The 20th and, particularly, the 21st centuries’ sea levels are significantly higher than that experienced over recent
centuries (Fig. 7) and millennia (Fig. 1)" and that similarly the rate of change recently has been higher than has been seen for a similar period of time.

Beware the dangers of relying on single point estimates because of isostatic rebound, differing rates of sea level rise regionally, and occasionally human influence such as tidal barriers in the Thames.

Posted by: marcusmarcus | June 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

You can type Encyclopedia of World Climatology MWP "sea level" into Google to get to the page.

Posted by: eric654 | June 22, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Weather is day to day-climate is over a period of time 10-20-30 100,500000 years.

The weather this spring has been very warm- is it climate change? Or where the snow storms this past winter climate change?

Precipitation and warmer temperatures in the mid Atlantic and northeast are according to climate scientists signs of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

The CO2 level as measured by the NOAA at Mauna Loa Observatory in HI -last month was 393PPM- the highest in 3-4 million years.

At that time there was no Greenland Ice Cap- no arctic ice and seal levels where many meters higher then today.

Posted by: vercingetorex | June 23, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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