Was March colder than normal?

Nearly everyone is happy to see March 2013 end, as it was an unusually persistent cold month. In fact, Madison ended up 7.4 degrees below normal for March 2013 making it the 18th coldest March in the city’s history. Madison had only four days when the average temperature was at or above normal. Of course, March 2013 followed on the heels of the warmest March ever in March 2012 when the daily average temperature was 16.1 degrees above normal.

That means that consecutive months of March (2012 and 2013) had a 23.5-degree difference in their average daily temperatures — surely some sort of record for the same month in consecutive years (we are still trying to verify if this is, in fact, a record).

Leaving the issue of records aside, it is interesting to note the local departure from normal is not necessarily in line with the departure over the whole Northern Hemisphere. In fact, while we were basking in warmth last March, the hemisphere was colder than average, and while we were shivering this March, the hemisphere was warmer than average. Little consolation for those tired of winter.

However, it must be noted that the transition from March to April in Madison is accompanied by the single biggest one-month increase in average daily temperature of the year (from 34 degrees in March to 46.6 degrees in April). If April unfolds more or less normally, the inevitable warming will not only be especially welcome but will seem especially strong.

Category: Climate
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