Is This The New Normal?

It’s been the big talk back here. What in the world is up with this heat? Is this something really bizarre..or is this the new normal? Every day during the newscast we will flash up a graphic before the commercial break known as the “ALMANAC”. It shows daily highs, lows and what our normal temperature is. But, soon, that normal temperature could change compared to what you are used to seeing. The reason? New data that is released once a decade from The National Data Climatic Center. For the last 10 years, our averages have been based on temperatures recorded from 1971-2000. Normals are based on a 30 year average which means that we will be dropping the 1970s from the reporting list and use data from 1981-2010. So, what changes have we noted?

Every single state saw an increase in the average temperature. For Oklahoma, it was a half degree increase from the original morning low and about a .3° increase for the daytime high. Together, that makes for almost a 1 degree increase in temperature. 1 degree may not sound like much, but it is in a big way. The graph here shows where the changes in normals were noted:

The image on the left shows the increase in temperatures for January morning lows and the image on the right shows the changes in highs for July ( this year not included). The biggest changes have been recorded in winter time temperatures where morning lows are significantly warmer than previous years. From a gardening standpoint, warmer winters means it’s harder to kill pests. Cold, harsh winters are key in killing pests, but when the temperatures don’t get cold enough for a long enough time, the pests don’t die. If you have ever been to Colorado then you know what I am talking about. If not, check this out:

PHOTO COURTESY:UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH

What you see here ( other than an awesome landscape) are pine trees turning from green to brown. The reason? An insect known as the pine bark beetle that is killing trees from Colorado to Alaska. Due to the warmer winters in Colorado, the beetle can live longer, reproduce more and cause the landscape to change faster than you know as it eats away at the inside of the tree killing the tree down to the root. For local agricultural, the pollinating season will likely change and flowers that didn’t bloom here will likely have a better chance of surviving. As is, the freeze dates have been adjusted to start one day later than the previous 30 years.

We’ll see how the recent Oklahoma heat wave means for the next set of data set to come out in July of 2021.

-Damon

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3 Responses

  1. Guess global warming IS just a crock. Oh, wait…

  2. Okay, make a post about today’s surprise rain. 🙂

    • Jesse, it’s not a surprise when it was in the forecast. 🙂
      -Damon

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