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Friday, February 24, 2012

wunderground: New product allows you to explore record-setting extreme weather

New product allows you to explore record-setting extreme weather

by Angela Fritz, wunderground, February 23, 2012+30
We've launched a new extreme weather product this week: Record Extremes. Recent, globally record-setting years have demanded a product that combines U.S. and international record extremes into one, easy to use interface. The Record Extremes page will give you the option to see U.S. and international records on a map and table. You can select any combination of record types at once, which, combined with the map, provides a interesting visual way to investigate record-setting events. The product uses data from three sources: (1) NOAA's National Climate Data Center, (2) Wunderground's U.S. records, and (3) Wunderground's International records.

The NCDC records begin in 1850 and include official NOAA record extreme events for ASOS and COOP weather stations in all 50 U.S. states as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Islands. In this database you can find records for maximum high temps, minimum high temps, maximum low temps, minimum high temps, snow, and precipitation on daily, monthly, and all-time scales.

The Wunderground extremes were compiled by our weather historian Christopher C. Burt. Chris monitors 300 stations across the U.S. for Record Extremes in maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation, and snow events. Most of these U.S. records go back to the end of the 19th century, though the oldest site in this database is Charleston, SC, where precipitation records started in 1737! Internationally, Chris monitors 150 countries worldwide for all-time record high temperatures and all-time record low temperatures. If you're interested in diving deeper into extreme weather in the U.S. and abroad, Chris's book Extreme Weather is an excellent resource.

Figure 1. All-time snow records broken during the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011. These records were found by selecting NCDC as the source, a start date of 2011-01-31, an end date of 2011-02-02, "maximum snowfall," and "all-time."

We built the Record Extremes product to make it easy to find specific records you're looking for, or just browse the records in general.

Check records that were set on a specific date
You can check on records that were set yesterday, for example, by setting the calendar to yesterday's date, and selecting all the record variables and types that you're interested in.

Explore all records set in a certain time range
2011 was a record-setting year for the U.S., and most of the records were high maximum temp and high minimum temps. To see all of these warm records that were set last year, select "NCDC" as the source, 2011-01-01 as the start date and 2011-12-31 as the end date. Select Maximum High Temp and Maximum Low Temp in weather variables, and select all-time in the record type.

View current standing international records in the Wunderground database
Select either the Wunderground International records, and instead of choosing a date range, select "Show current standing records." This will bring up all standing records in the database for whatever record variable and type you select. Whereas we've collected every record ever set or broken from NCDC, the Wunderground records are always the current, standing record, whenever it was set. As you move your map around the globe, you'll see each country's all-time maximum high temp and all-time maximum low temp.

Filter your table results
Looking for a specific location or record within your search results? Use the "Filter Results" option in the table to narrow down your search.

Let us know what you think!


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