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National Centers for Environmental Information and CPO lay groundwork for new extreme heat product


NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information’s (NCEI) authoritative temperature dataset, funded in part by CPO’s Climate Observations and Monitoring program, has laid the foundational groundwork for the development of a “new sub-monthly temperature product to monitor near real-time climate conditions and assess long term heat events in the United States”. This product will help scientists identify whether an extreme heat event tomorrow is significant or actually “extreme” relative to the historical record. It may also help assess extreme heat impacts on sectors like agriculture, health, and energy.

The COM funded Global Historical Climatology Network-Daily (GHCN-D) dataset is a premiere dataset that maintains daily temperatures recorded at over 20,000 stations in the U.S. NCEI uses these datasets to create long-term climate monitoring products on monthly timescales. However, reliable products that take into account non-climatic changes in temperature at sub-monthly time scales are lacking. Researchers, including lead author Jared Rennie at North Carolina State University, Ashville, funded through NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, North Carolina have now closed this gap and created a new tool to monitor and analyze extreme heat events in U.S. regions on the timescale of days (e.g. three day and weekly averages) from 1901 to present. An analysis of the new sub-monthly temperature dataset suggests that extreme heat events are longer and are happening more frequently than they did in the past. Night time temperatures, in particular in the Southeast, are increasing. A number of simplified data visualizations are available for further exploration. Study authors suggest that those in energy, agriculture, and the health-field could potentially utilize this new higher-time-resolution dataset to explore the broader societal impacts of extreme heat events.

View the early online release »

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