Timeline for climate change is moving

New recent, 30-year averages will be revised in May

Forthcoming new normals for winter temperature are different from the current normals, which cover 1981-2010. Consistent with the long-term warming trend, winter is warmer across most of the contiguous United States, ranging from nearly 0.0 (light pink) to 1.5 degrees (darker pink) Fahrenheit.
Forthcoming new normals for winter temperature are different from the current normals, which cover 1981-2010. Consistent with the long-term warming trend, winter is warmer across most of the contiguous United States, ranging from nearly 0.0 (light pink) to 1.5 degrees (darker pink) Fahrenheit.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Weather is what you get. Climate is what you expect.

The Weather Authority forecasts cover many hot and cold days. Predicting the weather is a short-term forecast in contrast to looking at climate trends that represent average weather conditions over decades.

We know the climate is getting warmer from decades of temperature records. NOAA’s database of “climate normals” is being updated with the results expected to be released May 1.

When we mention whether a given day is unusually warm or cool, it has been based upon data from 1981-2010. The new averages will reflect the climate period from 1991 to 2020.

As the 30-year normal period for the contiguous U.S. shifts from 1981-2010 (blue box) to 1991-2020 (red box), the 1980s will be dropped and the considerably warmer 2010s will be added.

Climate normals provide the baseline for comparing U.S weather and climate to the recent past.

NOAA offers a sneak peek at how the new normals for precipitation will differ from the current normals covering 1981-2010.

Rain totals in north Florida will be up to 5% less under the revised climate range. (noaa)

New with this update will be additional monthly temperature normals for hundreds of U.S. stations with shorter 15-year averages. It will also be more comprehensive including not just temperature but a range of weather metrics.

For Jacksonville, the trend has been warmer and drier. In the last 10 years, four have ranked as the top warmest averages. The third hottest was in 2020.

Some of the hottest average temperatures for Jacksonville have occurred in 2019 and 2020.

About the Author: