Every 30 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States updates their definition of "U.S. Climate Normals." These "normals" are designed to help farmers, energy companies, water managers, transportation schedulers, and other businesses in their planning — putting the climate into context, as it were. As the NOAA explains:
The new "normals" of our changing climate … are calculated using climate observations collected at local weather stations across the country and are corrected for bad or missing values and any changes to the weather station over time before becoming part of the climate record.
Simply stated: The Normals are the basis for judging how daily, monthly and annual climate conditions compare to what's normal for a specific location in today's climate.
While the changing of the US Climate Normals is a semi-regular practice, it also offers some shocking hindsight on the ways our climate has changed. For example:
That's not good! Now let's check the water:
This is at least somewhat more complex, without any clear or obvious pattern emerging in increased precipitation (other than the fact that everything is wetter and wilder overall).
The NOAA also has some neat tools that let you graph and view the monthly/seasonal/yearly climate changes in specific areas across the country.
The new U.S. Climate Normals are here. What do they tell us about climate change? [US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
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