By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 3/20/18 (Tue)
There’s no doubt
We all know what happened in 1936. Steele had the hottest temperature ever recorded in the state at 121 and Parshall had the coldest at 60 below. That’s a temperature swing of 181 degrees in about six months.
Those are the kind of numbers that NASA is recording on the surface of Mars.
Those numbers tend to tell us something. It’s not so much about Feb. 15, 1936 or July 6, 1936, although those two days are significant. It’s over time dating back to 1874, where the numbers are telling us the mean temperature is rising across the state.
The National Weather Service provides a wealth of knowledge on this subject. That organization has data as far back as 1874, which is one year after
All major reporting stations in western
Taking a look at
What the National Weather Service has done is record high and low daily temperatures throughout the year, then they boiled it down to an average temperature for that specific year.
Considering there are 144 years of data to work with, 12 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 30 years.
The oddball exception to that is 1921, when the average temperature was 44.4 degrees.
The warmest year was 2016 at 46.5 degrees with 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2001 in the top 20.
In case you are wondering about 1936, its number is 87, at least in Bismarck, presumably because of how cold that winter was.
And when we consider cold, we see the opposite. Thirteen of the 20 coldest years on record in
In this scenario, 1996 is the oddball exception at 38.7 degrees.
When you take all those years, add them up and come up with a 144-year average, the warmest is 2008 at 41.7 degrees and coldest 1915 at 41.6 degrees. That’s only a swing of 1 degree Fahrenheit, but consider the years in which they occurred given 144 years of data.
The coldest years in
Regardless, when considering the coldest 30 years on record, the most recent is 1935. The others are 1907, 1909, 1911, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1922 and 1927.
1936 is 95th on the heat scale and ninth on the cold scale. So, essentially what 1936 tells us is that it was a year of extremes unlike any other in recorded history.
When you take all 111 years, add them up and get an overall average for heat, it turns out to be 1995 at 40.5 degrees and coldest average was in 1914 when it was 40.2 degrees.
There are also statistics for precipitation.
Incidentally, the wettest year in
Throughout recorded history in Bismarck and Minot, rainfall totals don’t appear to correlate with wet or dry, but seem to have happened at random.
What we do know is the average temperature continues to get warmer as time goes on.
If you don’t believe this information, go to the National Weather Service website and look for yourself. All reporting stations are available. You may have to dig a little bit, but they’re all there.