I spent a lot of time on record temperatures in Colorado in 2012 – they were all record highs. Due to annual weather variability, there are a couple of different records in April 2013: record lows. There have been four record lows set or tied in Denver, CO this April:
6F on April 10th
22F on April 16th (tie)
21F on April 22nd
Needless to say, with record low temperatures due to vigorous synoptic cyclones that brought Arctic air masses down into the middle of the country, April’s average temperature is among the lowest on record. I will have more to say about that next week after the month ends. Denver may not record a bottom-10 moth because much more seasonable weather is on tap for the next week. In contrast, two record highs were set in April 2012: 84F on the 1st and 88F on the 24th.
In other news, Boulder, CO set a monthly record for snowfall: 47.4″ through the 23rd! The old record of 44″ was set in 1957. The official snowfall measurement site for Denver (Denver Int’l Airport) recorded “only” 20.4″ of snow for the month-to-date. With 60F+ temperatures forecasted from today through next Tuesday, DIA won’t challenge the top-10 snowiest Aprils (#10 recorded 21.0″ of snow).
Remember that one month’s, season’s or year’s temperatures, precipitation, or even drought are not indicative by themselves of climate change. They are too heavily influenced by individual weather systems. When I discuss climate change, I write about long-term trends (decadal to multi-decadal). Natural variability influences individual weather events that overlie the long-term climate signal. I’ve written before that climate change means we are more likely to see record high temperatures than record low temperatures. The weather will continue to set both, but will set the former at a higher rate moving forward than the latter. Of course, I for one am very glad there was more precipitation than normal for April. Last year’s drought and record hot summer was not enjoyable to live through. Denver-Boulder and the surrounding region will unfortunately need months in a row of above average precipitation to break the long-term drought. This spring’s precipitation pattern slightly reduced the intensity and areal coverage of drought. I will update my last drought post in the next couple of days.