Friday, January 13, 2023

Above/Normal Winter Temperatures in Cleveland: Is there a Trend?

How often have we heard the saying "Perception is Reality"?  

No other phrase describes the weather better than this one. We look at past winters through our own personal lens molded by our own experiences in that weather. Maybe we were on our way to a Christmas party in a snow storm similar to this past Christmas blizzard. Perhaps it was a really warm Christmas like 2019 or 1982.  Maybe it was a severe thunderstorm that caused damage to your house.  Events like this leave an indelible mark in our minds placing more weight on these weather events versus others. Psychology tells us that we typically remember these extremes more than the averages.  Perception is indeed reality. 

Below are the total number of days where the average temperature was above normal and below normal for Cleveland, Ohio (NWS station at Hopkins Airport).  I looked at every winter since 1960-61 (December through February) using the SC ACIS site.  All normals are calculated using the period 1991-2020.


DJF Days Above Normal

DJF Days Below Normal

If we just plot the higher end above normal days (at least +10 degrees above normal) this is what we find:

DJF Days at least 10 degrees ABOVE NORMAL

Now the lower end below normal days (at least -10 degrees below normal):