GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Every decade, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases a set average value for temperatures and precipitation to represent what the new ‘normals’ will look like in our changing climate. That time has come again.
Climate scientists around the world can agree on one thing, temperatures are in fact rising. And now, with NOAA’s new climate normals, we can give that rise an exact number. NOAA just released an analysis of the climate from 1991-2020 for the United States.
The 30-year averages represent our new normal and compared to the last one, temperatures have risen a degree and a half. Precipitation has increased almost an inch and even snowfall is increasing substantially.
And it’s not just comparing it to a decade ago, but over the past 100 years, temperatures have been on the rise, about .16 degrees per decade. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but since before 2000, we have been over the 20th-century average, so there’s definitely a need for new normals.
The 1.6-degree increase is an average and varies depending on location. The Dakotas aren’t really feeling the heat as much as places like the South and West. Precipitation varies heavily based on location as well, with wetter conditions to the east and drier to the west.
We are all going to feel the heat this summer in Eastern North Carolina, and only time will tell how much warmer 2030’s new normals will be.