Sudden Shift: A deep dive into our local data, with a climate scientist

Chief Meteorologist Tom Coomes talks with Jared Rennie, a Research Meteorologist with Climatic Science and Services Division (CSSD) at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Jared works with large data sets collected from all ground sensors, buoys satellites and more worldwide. Instead of looking forward he looks backwards to quantify the significance of change in weather over time, the climate record.

Below are some of the data sets Jared & Tom discuss.

Rainfall Extremes

Large spikes on this chart indicate periods of heavy rain, where flat areas of the chat show drought / lack of rain.  by NOAA / NCEI

Even with a drought, 2023 was still a year with near / above normal precipitation, after a significant spike, with head rain in late June and July.

Snow Drought

1978, the snowiest year stands out like a sore thumb. But many of the most recent years all fall in the WHITE, below normal snowfall for the period.  by

This year and even last year were not vary snowy, it's been more than five years since we had an above normal snow season. 

Warming Temperatures

This graph plots all the highs and lows from 2023, and compares it to the our climate record.  by NOAA / NCEI

We set two record highs, four record warmest lows and zero record cold days in 2023. Also, a high majority of the highs and lows are at the upper reach of the 'normal' range. 2023 was the 4th warmest year on record in South Bend, and we did it less with extreme heat and more in an overall shift in temperature, upward. 

Sudden Shift 

St Joseph County - Year-by-year temperature departure 1885 to 2023.Red is warmer, Blue is cooler than normal.  by NOAA / NCEI

St Joseph County - Year-by-year precipitation departure 1885 to 2023.Brow is drier, Green is wetter than normal.  by NOAA/ NCEI

There have always been warm years and colder years, but in St. Joseph County, there has been a sudden shift towards the warmest and wetter, as shown by the brighter reds and greens in recent years. 

You can explore this data nationally and locally on and globally here.

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