DENVER — The numbers are in and they were warm for March. Colorado recorded its warmest ever March on record and Denver its third warmest.
For the state, records go back to 1895. Denver’s records go back to 1873. In either case, it was a remarkably warm March compared to those in the past 100-plus years.
This follows the historic heat of February, which was second warmest for the state and sixth warmest for Denver.
This heat is tied into a warm ocean phase, coming out of El Nino, which offered a steady supply of warmth to the Arctic.
Without the development of truly cold polar air, the few cold fronts that moved through the region didn’t provide much of a cool-off with each passage.
A colder Arctic winter would have given the region more potential cold snaps. It’s also why the level of Arctic ice is so low this year.
Another factor was a very warm “train” of moisture from Hawaii to the Western U.S. The so-called Pineapple Express contributed a good deal of heat to the area.
The El Nino Southern Oscillation cycle had come from a strong El Nino to a weak La Nina by late 2016, but now the ocean is warming back to an El Nino phase for late spring through the rest of the year.
With many El Nino years, there have been warm and wet springs and summers in Colorado. This year could be the same.
Don’t be surprised if there is more record heat in the months to come. It fits the ocean-atmosphere situation of the planet.AlertMe