18th Conference on Climate Variability and Change


Analysis of surface heating trends from 1994 to 2004 using Oklahoma Mesonet data

Scott E. Stevens, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman, OK; and B. Illston and J. B. Basara

Global Warming is a critical issue in today's society, inciting debate in both the scientific and political realms. Compelling evidence has been presented both supporting and refuting the existence of this atmospheric phenomenon, the presence of which has yet to be fully ascertained. Proponents of environmental responsibility claim that increased levels of greenhouse gases and emissions are to blame for a rise in global temperature of approximately 0.8C since 1900, while those opposed argue that such climate shifts are a natural part of Earth's global system. However, the general consensus is that Earth's temperatures are rising steadily, with the primary increase present in nighttime minimum temperatures.

Since its inception in 1994, the Oklahoma Mesonet has collected frequent, research-quality observations of several atmospheric variables including temperature, moisture, wind, radiation, and soil characteristics. For this study, such information was analyzed for ten sites representing each geographic area of Oklahoma, with the goal of determining the absence or presence of a surface heating trend in Oklahoma on the decadal scale. The analysis was restricted to days when all temperature, humidity, and pressure observations were available, and because reduced winds increase the error likelihood of the temperature sensors, days were excluded when the average surface wind speed was less than 6 m/s. The temperature data from these candidate days were then averaged monthly and seasonally. Because incoming energy can be expended during evaporation, heat content and effective temperature were calculated for each day to account for a potential increase in atmospheric moisture. These data were then analyzed to quantify temperature trends from 1994 to 2004. Preliminary results revealed a warming trend during the period in eastern and central Oklahoma, particularly in the spring season, while temperatures across western Oklahoma exhibited little to no change.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (252K)

Poster Session 2, Observed seasonal to interannual climate variability and climate applications
Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM, Exhibit Hall A2

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