92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012
Record*-Breaking Temperatures: Trends Over the Conterminous U.S
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Clinton M. Rowe, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and L. E. Derry

In an unchanging climate, record-breaking temperatures are expected to decrease in frequency over time, as established records become increasingly more difficult to surpass. This inherent trend in the number of record-breaking events confounds the interpretation of actual trends in the presence of any underlying climate change. Here, a simple technique to remove the inherent trend is introduced so that any remaining trend can be examined separately for evidence of a climate change. Results indicate that the number of record low daily minimum temperatures is steadily decreasing nearly everywhere across the United States while the number of record high daily minimum temperatures is predominantly increasing. Trends in record low and record high daily maximum temperatures are generally smaller and more spatially mixed in sign. These results agree well with the changes expected with a warming climate.

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