Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kids Are Back At School...A Look Back At Summer

There's a lot of talk about how cool this summer has been so far in northern Ohio. Many people have commented about how they haven't had a "pool-less" summer like this in a long time. I do my best not to respond with weather records showing the contrary. Numbers can get quiet boring.

The truth is, as I wrote last week, we've had plenty of summers similar to this one in Cleveland. Because of the Recency Effect, we tend to forget those years unless we experienced some big event (wedding, great vacation, etc) during that time that helps solidify the memory.

Here is how this summer has stacked up versus the summers of the past:

The average high temperatures since June 1st since the 1870s for Cleveland seem to follow discernible patterns.  Look at the trend over the last 140 years:  Much cooler average high temperatures from 1870 through the 1920s, a sharp spike in the 1930s through the mid 1950s. Since the late 1950s, the high temperatures have averaged 80.3 over the 3 month period (JUNE, JULY and AUGUST).  Note that the year-to-year variation has increased (graph becomes more jagged) since the early 1980s.

So what about this summer?   The AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS 79.0
 1.3 degrees BELOW AVERAGE since 1956

Using 1956 as the cut-off eliminates the 1800s (temperature station changed several times), the spike in the dust bowl days and the scorcher summer of the early 1950s, this summer ranks as the 14th coolest! In other words, Over the same period, 13 summers have had COOLER HIGH TEMPERATURES.

The most recent summers were 2009, 2004 and 2000
What about overnight lows? The trend since 1956 has shown an increase. This summer, the nights have been running warmer than average but cooler than the last 3 summers.

How about rainfall?

This summer ranks 6th WETTEST since 1956 well above the average of 9.03".  The summers that were COOLER than 2013 (circled in green) match up well to summers with above average rainfall.

In summary, this summer was cooler than past summers but not unprecedented. Rainfall was indeed well above average but not as wet as the summer of 2011.

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