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New "Normal" temperatures released by NOAA, increased extreme weather events
June 30, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

When a TV meteorologist says "temperatures will be ten degrees above normal", the word "normal" has a specific meaning. Every 10 years NOAA re-calculates the "normal" temps for the USA based on the prior 30-year averages. The new normals have just been released, based on the 30 year period 1980-2010. Hotter is the new normal. With hotter weather comes more extreme weather. Extreme Weather and Climate Change, 3-part series from Scientific America .. and map of extreme weather events 1995-present.
posted by stbalbach (35 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
From first link:
the average annual temperatures for all of the lower 48 states has gone up. On average, temperatures from 1981-2010 are 0.5F warmer than they were between 1971-2000.

The new normals reveal that, for much of the country, the winter months are warming up more quickly than the summer months. In the Midwest and across the Northern Plains, new average January temperatures are between 2F and 4F higher than they were in the previous, 1971-2000 normals. Also, nighttime lows are increasing more rapidly than daytime highs.
posted by stbalbach at 9:40 AM on June 30, 2011


On average, temperatures from 1981-2010 are 0.5F warmer than they were between 1971-2000.

As far as I can tell, this statement means that on average, temperatures from 2001-2010 were 1.5F degrees warmer than temperatures from 1971-1980.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:43 AM on June 30, 2011


From now on, all weather reports can end with "...and that's the weather for this week. Remember, Jimmy Carter warned you about this. This is all your fault. Now over to Bob with sports."
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:48 AM on June 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


I live in Central Florida, just at the point where the land begins to rise above sea-level and the everglades end.

I have Lex Luther type plans for my grand-children and this land. When global warming sets in, they will have great property on the new Miami beach.

For now, I live on the edge of the swamp. But I am trying to make lemonade from the future lemons.
posted by Flood at 9:50 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


At work we're going to start switching to 10 year normals for temperature and (I believe) for precipitation because the 30 year ones aren't as relevant.
posted by mikeh at 9:50 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


stbalbach : Also, nighttime lows are increasing more rapidly than daytime highs.

As I understand it, that doesn't actually have so much to do with the net global increase in temperatures, as it does on our ever-increasing use of air travel (specifically, jet engines).

For the week after 9/11/2001, we had a unique-in-modern-history chance to see the effects of (the total absence of) air travel, and the daily high / nightly low temperature range increased drastically (something like 10F, IIRC - I'll try to find a source that gives the exact number); The daily average, however, didn't change.

/By no means a climate-change denier, but some of the specifics have other explanations than global warming
posted by pla at 9:53 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]




hot is the new cool
posted by blue_beetle at 9:57 AM on June 30, 2011


If you've never used weatherspark, I can't recommend it enough (though it is flash-only). Makes all the other weather sites look like relics from another era.

They have a climate tab which demonstrates this trend quite starkly.
posted by treepour at 10:00 AM on June 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


As I understand it, that doesn't actually have so much to do with the net global increase in temperatures, as it does on our ever-increasing use of air travel (specifically, jet engines).

I'd be curious to see a cite on that. It may be a factor, but I'm fairly sure this night-time temp increase is a global phenomenon and not just places with heavy contrails, the reason being the earth is heating up more and radiating more heat back out at night. Any climate weather phenomenon is going to have multiple forcing at work, pushing and pulling, the question is which force is the dominate one, it's easy to get confused about that (like people who think sun spots drive climate, instead of only one of many weak forcings compared to the dominate CO2).
posted by stbalbach at 10:00 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So this is why the 25-year-old tree in front of my apartment building was uprooted in a freakishly windy thunderstorm this year, and not any of the previous years of its existence?
posted by limeonaire at 10:07 AM on June 30, 2011


For the week after 9/11/2001, we had a unique-in-modern-history chance to see the effects of (the total absence of) air travel, and the daily high / nightly low temperature range increased drastically

A week of temperature data isn't going to give any meaningful information to draw conclusions from, especially with air mass type, humidity, and upper-level patterns having a tremendous influence on diurnal temperature ranges.
posted by crapmatic at 10:09 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you've never used weatherspark, I can't recommend it enough (though it is flash-only). Makes all the other weather sites look like relics from another era.

Just gave this a go on treepour's recommendation. It's pretty awesome.

weather.com : weatherspark.com :: Mapquest c. 2002 : the latest version of Google Earth.
posted by andromache at 10:12 AM on June 30, 2011


I'm sure there are lots of helpful websites out there to tell us the effects of contrails...



Oh...oh my. Anyone seen my tinfoil hat?

posted by ShutterBun at 10:12 AM on June 30, 2011


Yeah, but volcanoes spew pollution into the air! Explain that you global warming freaks!
posted by diogenes at 10:16 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally, the weather is back to normal.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:17 AM on June 30, 2011


Meanwhile, in our nation's capital...
posted by perhapses at 10:21 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Weatherspark is funny if you are in England. The long range forecasts tell me it will be 17-20C and rain for a bit every afternoon. Every single day. FML.

About 3 days ago it hit 21C naturally in my flat for the first time in the 3 years I've lived here.
posted by srboisvert at 10:56 AM on June 30, 2011


Oh...oh my. Anyone seen my tinfoil hat?

Your daughter made a tanning reflector out of it.
posted by longsleeves at 10:59 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Surely this...

hehehehehe, who am I kidding?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:02 AM on June 30, 2011


Weatherspark is funny if you are in England. The long range forecasts tell me it will be 17-20C and rain for a bit every afternoon.

I ran the forecast to +20 years and everything flatlines and then... just stops.

Seriously: thank you for that link. This and that sugru stuff have made my week!
posted by hal9k at 11:04 AM on June 30, 2011


Holy crap. Looking at that weather spark data...many years in the 1950s it only got up to 95 on any year....now we have strings of weeks above 95.
posted by notsnot at 11:11 AM on June 30, 2011


It's bizarre to me as a longtime Gulf Coast resident that extreme weather events don't include hurricanes (presumably as a matter of definition). I know ocean warmth is a factor in hurricane formation and strengthening, so a hotter normal temperature will mean bigger hurricanes, too.
posted by immlass at 11:11 AM on June 30, 2011


Yeah, but volcanoes spew pollution into the air! Explain that you global warming freaks!

There's a fresh short article in EOS, Volcanic Versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide (pdf warning) that asserts that present day volcanoes "emit relatively modest amounts of CO2, about as much as states like Florida, Michigan, and Ohio." Yes, they probably didn't get the comma memo, but good info nonetheless.
posted by pappy at 11:46 AM on June 30, 2011


It's always slightly annoyed me when a weather reporter says that temps are above or below normal. From the article I now realize that this is the official term used by NOAA, but there is nothing at all abnormal about temperatures on a given day being hotter or cooler than that date's average high/low temps. It's the variation that is "normal."
posted by longsleeves at 11:53 AM on June 30, 2011


Meanwhile, in our nation's capital...

Brought to you by the Heartland Institute (ie. Exxon and a number of other wealthy industrialists who will be the losers of climate regulation)
posted by stbalbach at 12:26 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Related: The Arbor Day Foundation, a few years ago, recalculated the US plant hardiness zones -- because the USDA is still using the 1990 map. Animation.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's the variation that is "normal."

Right. For example see this month's weather for Philadelphia. The "normal" high for each day steadily goes up from 77 on the 1st to 84 on the 30th. But if it had been 77 degrees for the first few days of the month, then 78 for the next few days, and so on, that would seem really weird. Good weird, maybe -- consistency in weather is nice, in a boring sort of way -- but weird.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:20 PM on June 30, 2011


"With hotter weather comes more extreme weather." Maybe, but at least for tornadoes, the science does not support the statement that hotter weather leads to more tornadoes.
posted by stan.kjar at 2:59 PM on June 30, 2011


If we're having global warming, can someone please explain to me how come my end of California is turning into the PNW? We had pouring ass rain on Tuesday. In JUNE. "Warming" is definitely fucking DECREASING here.

Grr.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:18 PM on June 30, 2011


Global weirdening would be a better name for this than global warming.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:22 PM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


treepour: If you've never used weatherspark, I can't recommend it enough (though it is flash-only). Makes all the other weather sites look like relics from another era. They have a climate tab which demonstrates this trend quite starkly.

Holy crap that's awesome. But... no UV index? :-/
posted by Decimask at 7:34 PM on June 30, 2011


stan.kjar, here's another view of this topic.

"We had pouring ass rain on Tuesday. In JUNE." Grrr indeed.
posted by sneebler at 8:03 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good one, dhartung . That's a nice visualization.

One of the people in my town (central Vermont) has planted grapes. It's a special kind, extra-hardy, aimed at cold climates. He's banking on global warming making it work.
posted by doctornemo at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2011


He's banking on global warming making it work.

Supposedly due to global warming English wine is starting to be a thing that exists. Obviously Vermont is not in Old England, but it's kind of the same idea.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:15 PM on July 1, 2011


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