Warm Philly, cooler world

We mentioned in today's Inquirer article that the first 15 weeks of 2012 have constituted the warmest such period on record.

For all our fellow obsessives, we based this on temperatures for the first 106 days of the calendar year. That would be Jan. 1 through April 16 in most years; through April 15 this year and in the other leap years.

Philadelphia's official temperature recordkeeping for the period begins with 1874, and 2012 finished No. 1 with warmth to spare, at 45.2 degrees.

The other top four finishers in order were 1999, 44.4; 2002, 44.1; 1990, 43.2, and 1913, 43.1.

Some veteran weather observers said they've haven't seen the likes of 2012, and it's only natural to question if global warming is behind the recent warmth and the incredibly early bloom season.

Any responsible climatologist would say that it's impossible to draw conclusions from one anomalous period in one part of the globe, and that would be especially true in this case.

We've noted that January and February this year were cooler than recent Januaries and Februaries, and last month was the coolest March since 1999, according to the National Climate Data Center.

Here is the monthly climate report. Also of note is the fact that Arctic sea ice extent was one of the larger March extents of the last decade.