The Surface Temperature Field Campaign has come to a close, but please feel free to keep taking surface temperature observations. I know that many of you and your students are still taking observations and you are planning your projects to present at science fairs as well as the GLOBE regional science fairs.
The Surface Temperature field campaign ran through the first day of winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, the official first day of winter is December 22 this year and in the Southern Hemisphere, it was the first day of summer . The start of the seasons are actually defined in different ways depending on who is referring to them. December 22 is the start of astronomical winter. That is the day that the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the most away from the sun while the Southern Hemisphere is tilted the most towards the sun. But, Meteorologists define the start of winter to be December 1. That makes a lot of sense to me since December, January and February are the cold months of the year, i.e. Northern Hemisphere winter. Meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere is March, April and May while the Summer is June, July August, etc.
Thirty-four schools have entered a total of 995 surface temperature observations. Here are the schools.
Congratulations to all of you. It was hard to beat Huntington High School in West Virginia but every observations is important. Here is a map of where the observations were taken.
One of the best spatial distribution of data was on December 10, 2015. You can see in the image below that there were cool temperatures in the Eastern United States but they were well above average. It was cold in Alaska. Temperatures in Europe were not too cool wither. What is unusual this year was that there was very little snow in the eastern US and Europe as well. This may be due to the strong El Nino that is affecting the world.
As you can see in this graphic from Ida Middle School in Michigan, the temperatures were very warm in December and there was very little snow. But, they kept taking observations into January and found the temperature dropped considerably. Now, there is snow and temperature are quite cold.
Here is the snow observations in December and then now in January. You can see the snow cover has change dramatically.