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Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Denver’s January 2013 Climate Summary


During the month of January 2013, Denver, CO recorded a 78°F difference between maximum and minimum temperatures.  Does that tell you anything about whether it was warmer or colder than normal?  No, it does not.  For the entire month, Denver was 0.4°F below normal (30.3°F vs. 30.7°F).  But the maximum temperature of 66°F was recorded on the 24th while the minimum temperature of -12°F was recorded on the 12th.

 photo Denver_Temps_201301_zps238cbc94.png

Figure 1. Time series of temperature at Denver, CO during January 2013.  Daily high temperatures are in red, daily low temperatures are in blue, daily average temperatures are in green, climatological normal (1981-2010) high temperatures are in light gray, and normal low temperatures are in dark gray. [Source: NWS]

Precipitation was below normal again during January 2013.  0.31″ of liquid water equivalent precipitation fell during the month, compared to 0.41″ normally.  For the first time in my life, rain fell across the Denver metro area in January!  Two days after hitting the high for the month, the National Weather Service recorded 0.01″ of rain on the 26th.  I haven’t read anything regarding historical rain in Denver in January, but I think such an event is very rare indeed.  4.6″ of snow fell, which was 2.4″ below the normal of 7.0″.


3 thoughts on “Denver’s January 2013 Climate Summary

  1. Although very site-specifc this is, nevetherless, a very useful set of graphs: Despite being merely a snapshot, it does appear to reflect the squashed and “red-shifted” bell-curve produced by the statistical analysis of historical weather over the last 5 decades (i.e. in Hansen et al 2012 [see PDF here]). In other words, this analysis reveals an overall warming trend with a wider range of weather conditions experienced in any one place over time. This is thus clearly validated by comparing even short-term observations with relevant long-term average data.

  2. Martin,
    Your comment is well received. I thought this would be a good time to introduce this type of analysis and start a new series. As I worked on it, I became aware that I needed to do some more work to flesh this topic out, especially to drive the type of point you make. Realizing that local conditions can and will differ from global trends, I think it will be interesting to take a closer look at data from a location that doesn’t typically receive a lot of attention. The biggest immediate hurdle is a lack of data I need to perform the analysis I have in mind. I will work to identify and secure the appropriate data and will revisit this topic when I have it in hand.

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