I feel like I blog as much about weather as I do about ecology, but the craziness on the plains is impossible to ignore.
Today Topeka, KS surpassed its record high for the MONTH of January. It was 75 degrees. The old record was 74, and the record for the date was 67. It was 76 in Manhattan, KS, but the NWS doesn’t keep extremes records for MHK. Temperatures have surpassed 60 degrees six times this month in Manhattan (30-40 degrees is average).
So what? It is supposed to cool down to slightly below average later this week (before rising back up to the 50-60 degree range).
Well, context is key. Look at the most recent drought monitor.
And look at the 6-10 and 8-14 temperature outlooks (precip is equal chances above or below average).
We just keep piling one unprecented event on top of the next. It isn’t for certain that 2013 will see terrible drought on the plains, but it looks more and more likely, and drought in its second, third, or fourth year (depending on where you are from the Dakotas to TX) is going to have consequences for the ecosystems we study, the food we eat, barge traffic, and for some of us, how much we are able to enjoy where we live.
But I’m in Oregon now. Looking at climate change projections, the Great Plains is not the place to be in coming decades.
Update: Manhattan and Topeka also broke records on 1/29 between midnight 2am, 68 and 70 degrees, respectively…70 after midnight in January in Topeka. That is jaw-dropping.