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Posted on Mon, Apr 2, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

March to remember: Ann Arbor temperatures warmest on record

By Danny Shaw


Ann Arbor resident Kyle Chase takes advantage of the nice weather March 19 to plan out his week while sitting on a rock in front of the Argo Cascades along the Huron River.

Melanie Maxwell |

Ann Arbor residents not only enjoyed the unseasonably warm temperatures last month but also witnessed the warmest March in the city’s recorded history.

According to Dennis Kahlbaum, University of Michigan weather observer, the normal mean temperature for March is 36.7 degrees, but this year’s was 50.7 — 14 degrees above the norm.

Kahlbaum said the March temperatures broke record after record, including becoming the warmest March since recorded weather observation began in the area 130 years ago.

The previous warmest March on record was in 1945 at 48.1 degrees.

Several other records were broken in March, including eight new record-high maximum temperatures and five new record-high minimum temperatures: Number of consecutive days above 60 (old record, 10; new record, 13); number of consecutive days above 70, (old record, 6; new record, 10); number of consecutive days above 80 (old record, 1; new record, 3); earliest date above 80 degrees (old record, March 24; new record, March 20)

The warmest day put the thermometer at 85 degrees on March 22.

Even with the higher-than-normal temperatures, the Ann Arbor area still saw some snowfall throughout the month. Snowfall accumulated to 1.8 inches in March, according to Kahlbaum, compared with the average of 8.5 inches.

Kalbaum said March 2012 ranks as the 28th least snowy since records began in 1880.

And it wasn't just the Ann Arbor area. All four National Weather Service offices around Michigan are reporting a record-shattering month, according to an MLive report.

For those wondering why March was so warm, Frank Marsik, associate research Scientist and lecturer at U-M's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Department, offered an answer.

"While it can be complicated," Marsik explained, "it largely comes down to the position of the jet stream of air up in the atmosphere. It tended to be far to the north, keeping the cold arctic air up in northern Canada. That allowed the warmer air to come up from the southern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, giving us that warm March."

Marsik added the jet stream being more northern than usual brought more than just sunshine and high temperatures.

"All that warm, humid air moving northward is what contributed to the heavy storms we saw in mid-March - including the tornado in Dexter," he said.

"If you were to open up a textbook and look at what conditions are necessary for strong storms and tornadoes, a lot of things you'd check off that list weren’t present that day. One of the key things that was present though is that warm humid air we were talking about."

For updated weather conditions and forecasts anytime, visit's weather page.



Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

All the branches of Science are founded on the methodology which requires testing of hypotheses until they either are destroyed or remain standing to a high level of probability such that they become theories. Even Einstein's Theories of Relativity are still being tested. But the public is always uncomfortable with this eternal scientific testing and doubting (except in their individual certainties which include everything from believing that the sun will always rise to believing a host of improbable and untestable things). They are most uncomfortable with any facts which would cause them to exert self control in the area of consumption. Only briefly mentioned here is that this once-in-4800 year March happened all the way from the East Coast to South Dakota. Not mentioned here is that every respected publication from National Geographic Magazine to Science and Scientific American supports Global Warming Theory. Bottom line is that people believe whatever makes them comfortable and right now, believing that Global Warming Theory is a hoax (as improbable as that is) makes them most comfortable. Being skeptical of THAT scientific probability makes them feel they are "scientific" - what an irony.


Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

LOL. March temps broke all known records; NOAA estimates the national heat wave was a onetime occurance every 4,800 years, and the second comment is a (nearly impossible to comprehend) rant about global warming being a fraud. Epic fail.


Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

...."NOAA estimates the national heat wave was a onetime occurrence every 4,800 years,.." LOL HILARIOUS!! Weather can't be forecast for next Tuesday but they can "estimate" the temperature every day for 5000 years and KNOW March 2012 was a record? When do you think the last ice age ended? Here's some cold reality - the weather data for any random spot on earth is UNKNOWN beyond a few decades. Weather satellites are so new as to be useless when discussing trends. The human controlled global weather fraud (HCGWF) crushing truth is that the earth is still warming from the last ice age, weather data from tree rings is a joke, air samples from ice bubbles is moronic and Americans don't control the earth's weather with the cars they drive or energy they buy to heat/cool their homes. The human controlled global weather fraud is about eco fascist POLITICAL Power and the embarrassing lemmings who follow them.


Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

What is a "weather observer"? Is that a new lable for a professional human controlled gobal weather fraud hustler and global warming hysteric? These people are not great with statistics - they seem to view them as very very elastic when it comes to cramming into some narrative that might get them another grant check from obama.


Tue, Apr 3, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

A weather observer is one who records the daily high and low temps off the thermometers and archives them for the Climate Data Center. They also record precip and wind measurements, time and length of various precip events. Weather observers have been around since Ben Franklin. Most NOAA sites are now automated but are still augmented by humans. They compile the statistics. It has nothing to do with global warming or being political.


Mon, Apr 2, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

Unless we see something similar in April whereas there is a prolonged warm spell, that record warm March may a fluke in itself. There is plenty of heat again in parts of the Midwest but the jet stream is diving down from the northwest, keeping the warm air from getting this far north. Some warmth this week; but is much more typical of early April and will not set any records. Seeing 80 degrees may be farther down the road in these parts.