6B.1 Climate Perspectives: A new tool for assessing the state of the climate across the southeastern U.S. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 3:30 PM
609 (Washington State Convention Center)
Charles E. Konrad, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; and R. Boyles, J. McGuire, and W. Schmitz

Various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, power generation, and health, have become increasingly vulnerable to climate variability and change, especially the occurrence of extreme events. A strong need therefore exists for the real time monitoring of the present climate state. Ideally this monitoring should allow one to flexibly identify and explore aspects of the present or recent climate state that are the most extreme or unusual. These anomalies may then be related to potential or emerging impacts in a given sector (e.g. stunted crop growth, reduced power generation, disease outbreaks etc.).

The NOAA Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC) has developed a web-based routine, Climate Perspectives (CLIMPER), to flexibly investigate the ongoing and recent state of the climate. CLIMPER (http://www.sercc.com/perspectives/) ingests current and past weather data from the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) and provides a rich mix of climatological information over a range of time periods. These climate perspectives provide a synopsis of recent temperature and precipitation patterns in terms of how they depart from what is normally observed. The daily updated climatological information allows the user to readily assess the extremeness of an ongoing weather event or regime (e.g. exceptionally hot, cold, or wet conditions) over the prior days, weeks, or months by seeing how it compares with historical record during the same calendar period. Unlike traditional climatologies, the information on this site is not bound by the artificial boundaries imposed by calendar months. Weather departures are identified over time periods that can cross months, thus the identification of a time period with the most extreme departure from normal is not constrained to one calendar period such as a given month, season, or year. The user can select any weather station in the ACIS database within the Southeast region and develop climate perspectives for minimum, maximum, and mean temperature as well as precipitation. In addition, a geographical perspective is provided that plots the location exhibiting the most similar temperature based on its climatological normals. A daily maximum temperature of 22 F in Greensboro, NC, for example, might be identified as being closest to the normal temperature for Minneapolis, MN on a given date in January. A user can also identify analog periods in the past in which similar climatological conditions were observed.

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