NASA released this map today (April 17, 2012) showing that the early spring affecting the U.S. this year didn’t happen everywhere. This map shows temperature anomalies for March 2012. In other words, it doesn’t show absolute temperatures. Instead, the map depicts changes from the norm.
In this case, March 2012 temperatures are being contrasted to average temps over a 30-year period in the 20th century (1951-1980). The map – which is based on an ongoing analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies – shows that the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., plus the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba, saw temperatures approaching as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) above normal (deepest reds on the map). NASA also said:
Temperatures were similarly extreme in the Arctic Ocean around Svalbard, the Barents Sea, and the Kara Sea. Far eastern Siberia, Alaska, and northwestern North America were significantly colder, while much of Europe and western Russia were warmer than normal (following a much colder February).
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.