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

Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Spatial and Temporal Analysis and Depiction of Day-of-Year, Record Minimum and Maximum Temperatures Set At USHCN Stations From the Early 1900s Through 2010
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Dale Kaiser, ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN

Against the backdrop of continued U.S. and global warming, observed and projected extremes of maximum and minimum temperatures are of great interest, especially from climate-change impact and adaptation perspectives, but also from the more “popular science” perspective of the public. Recent studies have shown that since the mid-20th century, about twice as many high temperature records have been set as low temperature records across the U.S. In the present study we use daily maximum and minimum temperatures from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network dating to the early 1900s to gain a longer perspective on observed changes in record maximum/minimum temperatures at individual station, state, and U.S. climate region levels. The high or low temperature “record for the date” is information that one's local TV meteorologist relates every evening on the news, but without any larger context that might hint to the interested lay person how such extremes have changed over time as “global warming” progresses. One of the main objectives of this study is to present historical, day-of year, record temperatures for U.S. locations/regions in easy-to-read, graphical forms accessible to the non-scientist. The resulting plots and tables (with plain-English documentation) will be made available through a graphical user interface on ORNL's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center website.

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