2014 – 4th Coldest Year on Record for Illinois

Annual temperature in Illinois

Based on preliminary numbers, 2014 was the 4th coldest year on record for Illinois. The statewide average temperature was 49.4° F and 2.9° F below average. It was tied with 1912 and 1979 for fourth place. The statewide records go back to 1895. Here is the breakdown for the four coldest:

  1. 1917:  48.3° F
  2. 1904:  48.9° F
  3. 1924:  49.2° F
  4. 1912, 1979, and 2014:  49.4° F

What happened to global warming?

Here are two things to consider in putting the 4th coldest year on record for Illinois into perspective with regards to global warming. The first is that the trend in annual temperature for Illinois since 1895 has been upward at 1.1° F per century (see graph below). In fact, just two years ago in 2012 we experienced our warmest year on record. So the 2014 temperature really bucks the trend towards warmer years, with nothing like it since the late 1970s.

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The second thing to consider is that while Illinois and the Midwest were colder than average in 2014, the same is not true for the western US or the rest of the world. Below is the map of temperature departures for 2014 for the lower 48 states, showing the cooler than average conditions in parts of the central and eastern US while warmer conditions prevailed in the west.

While the global numbers are not in yet for 2014, the January – November results indicate that the central US was about the only cold spot in an otherwise warm world. It is very likely that the global temperature for 2014 will be one of the warmest on record. I will post the global numbers for 2014 as they come in later this month.

In summary, while it was a cold year for Illinois, the effect was largely confined to the Midwest and was not global and it does not reflect the long-term temperature trend in Illinois.

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4 thoughts on “2014 – 4th Coldest Year on Record for Illinois

  1. Reblogged this on Angie and Martin's Side-yard Urban Farm and commented:
    For those of us in Central Illinois for whom the beans and tomatoes seemed to struggle this past growing season, it seems we just experienced an anomalous cold 12 months. And it sounds like as we prepare for next year, trends predict we shouldn’t expect another similar cold summer.

  2. Is the 1.1 degree F trend statistically significant? Either way, could you comment on this trend in terms of natural variability.

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