Weather Gadgets

July 28, 2011

NOAA New Climate Normals -- Climatologist Heidi Cullen on the Weather of the Future

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As you may have read, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just recalculated its climate "normals," 30-year averages of temperature and precipitation for about 7,500 locations across the United States, a task the agency undertakes every 10 years. The numbers show that the past decade was about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 70s, which raises the 30-year average by roughly one-half degree. Click the image for enlarged version.

According to Heidi Cullen, a scientist at Climate Central, a journalism and research organization, "Even this seemingly modest shift in climate can mean a big change in weather." From Sizzle Factor for a Restless Climate | New York Times:

In other words, that extra 1.5 degrees might be more than we can afford....The snapshots of climate history from NOAA can also provide a glimpse of what's in store locally in the future. Using climate models, we can project what future Julys might look like. For example, by 2050, assuming we continue to pump heat-trapping pollution into our atmosphere at a rate similar to today's, New Yorkers can expect the number of July days exceeding 90 degrees to double, and those exceeding 95 degrees to roughly triple. Sweltering days in excess of 100 degrees, rare now, will become a regular feature of the Big Apple's climate in the 2050s.

cullenweatheroffuture.JPG Ms Cullen is a well-known climatologist and the author of The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet. She predicts global warming scenarios for seven spots around the world over the next 40 years with evaluations of the responses of communities, governments, and international organizations.

Read More in: General News | Global Warming/Climate Change | Weather Books

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