Illinois was one of the coolest places to live in 2014, at least in terms of temperature, according to the recent annual report released by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). In the map below, the areas in blue show areas where the temperatures were much colder than average for the central US and eastern Canada, while the West and Alaska were much warmer than average (areas in red).
According to the latest figures, the average temperature for Illinois in 2014 was 49.5 degrees, 2.7 degrees below the 1981-2010 average, and the 6th coolest year on record for Illinois.
Most of the other continents reported warmer than average temperatures for 2014. Therefore, our experience in Illinois of a cold winter and moderate temperatures in spring, summer, and fall, was fairly “local” and did not reflect global temperatures.
One of the outstanding features of 2014 was this incredibly persistent ridge of high pressure along the West Coast, and corresponding trough of low pressure over the central United States. In fact a new term was coined, ridiculously resilient ridge. Without that pattern pushing cold air into our region, we would have likely experienced average to above-average temperatures in 2014.
So far, the globe in the first half of 2015 (January-June) has had a temperature pattern similar to 2014 (map below). That includes warming in the western half of North America and cooling in the eastern half of North America. The temperature departures are not quite as strong as 2014. The January-June temperature for Illinois is 45.7 degrees, 2 degrees below average.