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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Oklahoma Summer 2004-How Unusual Was It?

Authors
item Schneider, Jeanne
item Garbrecht, Jurgen

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2004
Publication Date: November 18, 2004
Citation: Schneider, J.M., Garbrecht, J.D. 2004. Oklahoma summer 2004--How unusual was it? In: Proceedings of the Oklahoma Water 2004 Conference, November 18-19, 2004, Stillwater, Oklahoma. 2003&2004 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: The cool, wet summer of 2004 made the headlines in Oklahoma, and prompted some pretty wild predictions for winter 2004. How unusual was the summer weather, and is there anything behind those predictions for extreme winter weather? To answer these questions, we compared the months of May, June, July, and August 2004 to the 1895-2003 record, looking for years with either more extreme, or similar, monthly temperature and precipitation. The summer of 2004 proved to be unique, with no other year showing the same pattern of precipitation (very dry May, very wet June, average July and August) and temperature (warm May, cool June, very cool July and August). There were a few years that matched part of the precipitation or temperature patterns, and the record was searched to determine whether those summers presaged unusual weather in the following fall and early winter. Unfortunately, the precipitation anomaly patterns during September through December were all different, and the only hint for temperature was a slight increase in the odds for a cool to near-average September. In other words, each analog year played out differently, so we have no basis in historical records for predictions for the rest of this year.

Technical Abstract: The cool, wet summer of 2004 made the headlines in Oklahoma, and prompted some pretty wild predictions for winter 2004. How unusual was the summer weather, and is there anything behind those predictions for extreme winter weather? To answer these questions, we compared the months of May, June, July, and August 2004 to the 1895-2003 record, looking for years with either more extreme, or similar, monthly temperature and precipitation. The summer of 2004 proved to be unique, with no other year showing the same pattern of precipitation (very dry May, very wet June, average July and August) and temperature (warm May, cool June, very cool July and August). There were a few years that matched part of the precipitation or temperature patterns, and the record was searched to determine whether those summers presaged unusual weather in the following fall and early winter. Unfortunately, the precipitation anomaly patterns during September through December were all different, and the only hint for temperature was a slight increase in the odds for a cool to near-average September. In other words, each analog year played out differently, so we have no basis in historical records for predictions for the rest of this year.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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