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Extension Agronomy

Kansas climate basics: Top 10 hottest, coldest, driest, and wettest years in Kansas

(Editor’s note: The following article is one in a series of articles in the Agronomy eUpdate that examines the historical climate observations in Kansas. The methods used to do this analysis are explained in the introductory article in this series, from eUpdate No. 571, May 20, 2016. – Steve Watson)

 

Top 10 hottest, coldest, driest, and wettest years in Kansas

We wrap up this series of articles in the Agronomy eUpdate on “Kansas Climate Basics” with a set of “Top 10” listings. Table 1 provides the top ten hottest, coldest, driest, and wettest years during the period of 1895 to 2015. The hottest year recorded during this period was 2012 and coldest year was 1912. Five of the ten hottest years occurred during the 1930s. Both the driest and wettest years occurred in 1950s. Perhaps surprisingly, only two of the driest years were during the Dust Bowl decades of the 1930s.

The temperature difference between hottest year and coldest year is about 5 degrees F (2.7 degrees C) in Kansas. Perhaps more significantly, the precipitation difference is 19 inches between the wettest and driest years. These significant swings of temperature and precipitation make Kansas’s crop and livestock productions relatively vulnerable to changes of increasing climate extreme events from short-term and/or longer-term perspectives, which requires that adaptive measures are taken for sustaining Kansas agricultural production.    

 

 

 

Table 1. Kansas Top 10 hottest, coldest, driest, and wettest years from 1895 to 2015

Rank

Hottest year

Degrees F

Rank

Coldest year

Degrees F

1

2012

58.9

1

1912

52.3

2

1934

58.1

2

1951

52.5

3

1954

57.7

3

1993

52.6

4

2006

57.6

4

1924

52.6

5

1938

57.5

5

1917

52.7

6

1939

57.4

6

1979

52.8

7

1946

57.4

7

1903

52.9

8

1933

57.3

8

1895

52.9

9

1931

57.1

9

1929

52.9

10

1921

57.1

10

1985

53.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rank

Driest year

Inches

Rank

Wettest year

Inches

1

1956

17.3

1

1951

43.7

2

1966

19.3

2

1973

42.7

3

2012

19.4

3

1915

41.3

4

1936

19.8

4

1993

41.1

5

1952

20.1

5

1961

38.1

6

1939

20.7

6

1941

37.5

7

1910

20.7

7

2007

36.6

8

1917

21.0

8

1944

36.4

9

1963

21.1

9

1985

35.9

10

1988

21.3

10

1992

35.8

 

 

Xiaomao Lin, State Climatologist, Department of Agronomy
xlin@ksu.edu

John Harrington Jr., Department of Geography
jharrin@ksu.edu

Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist
ciampitti@ksu.edu

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu