NOAA’s 1981–2010 U.S. Climate Normals: An Overview
In July 2011, NCDC released the 1981–2010 U.S. Climate Normals, and now a paper entitled “NOAA’s 1981–2010 U.S. Climate Normals: An Overview” will be published in the November 2012 edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). The paper provides a general overview of this new suite of climate Normals products.
The 1981–2010 U.S. Climate Normals represent the latest once-per-decade release of NCDC’s Climate Normals. Climate Normals are three-decade averages of climatological variables. This new release contains daily and monthly normals of temperature, precipitation, snowfall, and heating and cooling degree days calculated from observations at approximately 9,800 stations operated by NOAA’s National Weather Service. The 1981–2010 Normals dataset is the largest, most comprehensive, and scientifically rigorous compilation of Normals that NOAA has ever released.
Meteorologists and climatologists regularly use Normals for placing recent climate conditions into a historical context. Local news broadcasts also commonly employ NOAA’s Normals in their weather news segments for comparisons with the day’s weather conditions. In addition to their importance in weather and climate comparisons, Normals are utilized in countless applications across a variety of sectors including regulation of power companies, energy-load forecasting, crop selection and planting times, construction planning, building design, and many others.
You can view the early online release of the BAMS paper here.