4b.2 Creation of a recreation climatology for the Southeast US

Tuesday, 19 July 2011: 8:45 AM
Salon C2 (Asheville Renaissance)
Corey N. Davis, NC State University, Raleigh, NC; and M. S. Brooks, A. N. Frazier, and R. P. Boyles

Recreation and tourism is a financially important industry in the southeast US, in large part because of the favorable weather conditions for many outdoor activities. However, little work has been done to quantify the climatological favorability of different activities in different locations at different times of the year. This became the basis for a recreation climatology created at the State Climate Office of North Carolina. This climatology is based on archived hourly weather data, including air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and precipitation data. Each parameter receives a different weighting based on its importance to a given outdoor activity (i.e., wind speed is very important to kiteboarding but not so important to hiking). The climatological hourly average of each parameter is then given an activity-specific weighting (i.e., the ideal temperature for suntanning is higher than for running). The sum of all the weighted and rated parameters gives a favorability rating from 0 to 100. Work is still needed to refine the weighting and rating of the parameters. If those improvements are made, this recreation climatology could become a useful tool for the tourism industry and local governments, keeping in mind the issues associated with a location that may said to have an unfavorable climate.
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