Earth System Science Center and Department of Atmospheric Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville

Alabama’s summer is one of the coolest

08222013SparkmanRain

Alabama’s 2013 summer will go into the books as one of the coolest summers of the past 131 years, according to data from the Alabama state climatologist.

Looking at temperature data from the areas around each of the state’s four largest cities, plus forecast highs through Saturday, the summer of 2013 should place somewhere between fourth coolest (in Birmingham) and seventh coolest (in Huntsville), said Dr. John Christy, the state climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Taken together, it is the fifth coolest summer on record, with an average temperature that was almost 2° cooler than seasonal norms.

“Overall, this summer was both cool and wet, although we warmed and dried as August came to a close,” Christy said. “Several local daily climate records were set for the coolest daytime high temperatures.

“Certain crops, such as corn, benefited from the weather, and the average Alabamian’s utility bill for electricity and water was probably noticeably lower this year.”

Several people have asked if the cool summer will have any influence on temperatures this winter. Sorry, but no, Christy said.

“The fact we had a cool summer doesn’t help in predicting the coming winter’s average conditions,” he said. “A quick check shows that there is no relationship between summer’s average temperature and that of the following winter.”

In terms of history, 1967 shows up in most Alabama weather stations as having the coolest summer since reliable weather record keeping started in 1883. Other summers on the cool end of the record have all been since 1960 and include 1997, 1992, 1961, 1989, 1994, 2003, 2004 and, now, 2013.

In calculating the average temperatures for each region, the climatologist’s office uses only daytime high temperature readings for stations within a 50-mile radius of each city center. Only daytime highs are used because nighttime low temperatures at some stations have slowly been contaminated by the growth of urban areas around those stations. The data were combined in a process that takes into account station moves and instrument changes.

Coolest Alabama Summers

4-AREA COMPOSITE

1.     1967         87.37°

1992         87.37°

3.     1997         87.67°

4.     1994        87.70°

5.    2013       87.87°

6.     2003       87.90°

7.      1989       88.12°

8.     2004       88.15°

9.      1961       88.22°

10.     2001      88.32

131-yr. avg.     89.65°

BIRMINGHAM

1.     1967         85.6°

2.     1997        86.5°

3.     1992        86.6°

4.    2013      86.7°

5.      1961       86.8°

6.     2004      86.9°

7.     2003      87.1°

1974       87.1°

9.     1989       87.2°

1892       87.2°

131-yr. avg.     90.1°

HUNTSVILLE

1.      1967         85.3°

2.      1992        85.6°

3.      1976        86.8°

1989       86.8°

5.      1997       86.9°

6.      1974       87.0°

7.      2004      87.1°

1979      87.1°

2013     87.1°

1961      87.1°

131-yr. avg.    90.7°

MOBILE

1.      1994       87.6°

2.      2003      88.1°

1900       88.1°

1892       88.1°

1894       88.1°

6.    2013      88.4°

1992       88.4°

1997       88.4°

9.      1923      88.5°

10.     1912      88.7°

2001      88.7°

1895      88.7°

131-yr. avg.    90.8°

MONTGOMERY

1.      1994          88.5°

2.      2003        88.7°

3.      1997         88.9°

1992        88.9°

1967        88.9°

6.     2013      89.3°

7.      2001        89.4°

8.      1961        89.6°

2004       89.6°

10.     1989       89.7°

1975       89.7°

1974       89.7°

131-yr. avg.     92.7°

– 30 –

EDITORS: For additional information:

Dr. John Christy, (256) 961-7763

christy@nsstc.uah.edu

Phillip Gentry, (256) 961-7618

gentry@nsstc.uah.edu

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