SAN ANGELO, Texas — Recently the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released new U.S. Climate Normals for the time span of 1991-2020. NOAA says that this new climate data depicts a “new normal” over the last 30 years.
According to NOAA, the new normal that the data reveals is an overall warmer than normal pattern across the U.S. The charts below show the changes in temperature and precipitation over the 10 different climate records for the U.S.
We spoke with Hector Guerrero, Warning Coordinating Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in San Angelo about the changes to our local climate record. Hector says that while there is a slightly warmer, drier trend in our new local climate record from the previous, the overall change was relatively small.
The new climate record for San Angelo, which is based off of the observations at Mathis Field, indicated that the area has seen an annual temperature increase of about 0.5º and an annual precipitation decrease of 0.32″. Looking at the climate data for the past 30 years, areas to the west of San Angelo tended to be drier, while the areas to the east of San Angelo tended to be wetter.
Hector says that the impacts of our changing local climate are going to vary, depending upon your location. One of the more positive impacts is that our warmer climate has led to a longer growing season for local farmers.
The local growing season has increased a total of 2 days from the previous climate record. Previously, the growing season totaled 228 days out of the year, the new growing season totals 230 days out of the year.
On the flip side, the drier climate may lead to an impact on our water resources. Which could ultimately have a negative impact on our water supply, and affect local farmers that depend upon the water.
In the end, climate normals take into account averages over an extended period of time. Therefore, the small changes that we have seen in our local climate over the past 30 years, will likely not be noticeable in the day to day.