The new climate 'normal' is warmer, says NOAA

Posted: Jul 4, 2011

Written by

ASHLIE RODRIGUEZ, Los Angeles Times
Parched earth

The new normal is warmer. That's the assessment of the nation's top weather agency, which will release data Friday showing the 30-year "normal" temperature in the United States.

"The climate of the 2000s is about 1.5 degree Fahrenheit warmer than the 1970s, so we would expect the updated 30-year normals to be warmer," said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center.

That recent temperature trend was enough to drag the three-decade moving average, from 1981 to 2010, up by half a degree Fahrenheit from the 1971 to 2000 period, according to the report by NOAA.

The 30-year baseline is used by scientists to understand climate conditions and trends, including climate change. Besides providing a perspective for daily weather records, the data are widely used by utilities to project energy use, by farmers to make decisions on crop selection and planting times, and by others whose livelihoods are dependent on weather.

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