When do the Coldest Temperatures Occur?

2014-11-19 19:43:03.000 – Michael Dorfman, Weather Observer/IT Specialist


After I was done with my shift today, I stumbled upon a really interesting graphic. Posted by the National Climatic Data Center, this map shows the dates of the record lows from 1981-2010 across the United States. It is immediately evident that the East Coast gets cold temperatures much later in the year than the plains out west. Although there are many reasons for this, one of the more prominent contributing factors has to do with the albedo, or reflectance, of the ground. The Rocky Mountains and the northeast tend to get heavier snowfalls, and the minimum temperature tends to trend later, when there is a more solid snow cover to reflect the sun’s energy. The plains out west tend to have the coldest temperatures earlier in the year, when nights are the longest and there is the least amount of solar radiation hitting the earth.

NOAA Graphic 

Source: National Climatic Data Center (http://ncdc.noaa.gov/news/when-to-expect-coldest-day-of-year)


Michael Dorfman, Weather Observer/IT Specialist

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