Amazing March Warmth

By: SteveDa1 , 14:50 GMT le 02 avril 2012

Weather Underground PWS IQUEBECS48

F = 1.8C + 32

The March 2012 heat wave is perhaps the most remarkable event to have affected me directly since the extreme ice storm of January 1998. Of course, let's not forget the historic floods of the Richelieu valley in May of 2010 but as I've said the latter hasn't struct me directly. The heat wave was indescribable. For an incredible five days in a row the temperature exceeded 20C when the average high should have been between 2-5C. What was even more incredible about this heat wave was the sheer size of the area affected. People in the eastern half of the U.S., all of Ontario, the southern half of Quebec, and the maritime provinces of Canada were all in some way feeling summer heat in the middle of March. A vast number of cities in Canada and the U.S. registered their highest March temperature on record in 2012. Additionally, a vast number of cities even had their warmest Marches on record. If I included every record that was shattered in this blog I'd still be here in May! Therefore I'll stick with Montreal, Quebec - the nearest city in regards to my house. Let's look back at some earlier significant March heat waves...

1945: 11 days where the temperature reached and/or surpassed 10C. The 26th (previous record for earliest day above 20C), the 28th and 29th all saw days above 20C. On the 28th, the thermometer peaked at 25.6C making this the warmest March day on record and it would take 67 years for it to be challenged and broken.

1946: For the second straight year, 11 days exceeded a temperature of 10C and for a, now considered short, time span of two days the temperature exceeded 20C. This event tied the record set just last year for number of days in a row above 20C. The 28th and 29th of March saw a temperature above 20C.


-On the 21st of March 2012, the thermometer peaked at a balmy 25.8C making this the warmest March day on record and beating the previous record by a noble 0.2C.

-2012 is now tied with March 1945, 1946, and 2010 for greatest number of days at or above 10C with 11. While most Marches in the past felt temperatures above 10C especially in the last week of the month, March 2012 didn't obey this rule. All 11 days above 10C occurred at or before the 23rd!

-March 18th 2012 now holds the record for earliest day above 20C. Incredibly, there had never been a day in March before where the temperature exceeded 20C before the 26th.

-March 2012 registered a total of five days above 20C which is 2 days above the previous record set in 1945.

-Astoundingly, all five days were in a row and all five days were also before the previous record for earliest March day above 20C. The 18th, 19th, 20th, 21th, 22th all had days above 20C.

If it wasn't for the near to slightly below normal temperatures since, March 2012 would have surely been the warmest March on record. The high temperature average for March 2012 will go down as the second warmest since record keeping began back in 1942.

Here is a list of the top five warmest monthly high temperature for March on record.

1. 1946 with 8.8C
2. 2012 with 8.1C
3. 2010 with 7.8C
4. 1945 with 7.3C
5. 2000 with 6.8C

March average high temperatures since 1942 for Montreal, Quebec

March average low temperatures since 1942 for Montreal, Quebec

I have formulated the above graphs using data courtesy of Environment Canada's National Climate Data and Information Archive.

March temperatures registered with my own weather station

If there isn't any significant weather event this month for my area, I'll have an update on the April trends in one month. April has also been trending much warmer over the past couple of decades, just like March.

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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4. SteveDa1
03:02 GMT le 03 avril 2012
Thank you nigel20 :)
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3. nigel20
02:30 GMT le 03 avril 2012
Nice post...I learn a lot from fellow blog members such as you
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2. SteveDa1
20:04 GMT le 02 avril 2012
Quoting Birthmark:
Interesting post. I wonder what was going on in 1945 and 1946 to make it so warm?

Question: What is the baseline are you using for the trend?

I also wonder! It's very peculiar how two Marches back in the mid-1940's both almost rival this year. What's even stranger is that no other year is comparable to these three years... Maybe we'll get a similar heat wave in 2013? :P Probably not... the human mind tries to find tendencies where there aren't any.

As for the graph, it's just a linear trend based on the data presented. There is no actual baseline.

Edit: On second thought, I don't believe it's possible to have no baseline! I guess you could say the baseline is the whole graph, 1942-2012
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