An extremely strong blocking pattern in the far northern latitudes dominated much of march, forcing unseasonably cold air much farther south compared to normal.
Below is the March 2013 satellite measured temperatures anomalies for the lower troposphere, which clearly shows the well above normal temperatures over northeast Canada, which was under the upper high block and the sweep of colder than normal air being forced underneath the block from north-central Canada down to the eastern U.S. then over into northern Europe. It does not get much more pronounced than that!
Image courtesy of Remote Sensing Systems.
Overall, March 2013 ended up 0.204 degrees C. or 0.367 F. above normal globally, according to RSS, placing it as the 12th warmest March in the satellite record, which goes back to 1979.
For the continental U.S., March 2013 averaged 0.994 degrees C. or 1.79 F. below normal, making last month the 4th coldest March in the satellite record.
Contrast this to March of 2012, which was incredibly warm (record warmest) across the continental U.S., averaging a whopping 3.297 C. or 5.93 F. above normal!
Expert commentary in regards to the record global temperature anomaly.
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