• Arguez, A., I. Durre, S. Applequist, R. S. Vose, M. F. Squires, X. Yin, R. Heim Jr., and T. W. Owen, 2012: NOAA’s 1981–2010 U.S. Climate Normals: An overview. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93, 16871697.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, R. D., and D. A. Robinson, 2011: Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover variability and change over 1922–2010 including an assessment of uncertainty. Cryosphere, 5, 219229.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cayan, D. R., M. D. Dettinger, H. F. Diaz, and N. E. Graham, 1998: Decadal variability of precipitation over western North America. J. Climate, 11, 31483166.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Changnon, S. A., 2006: Problems with heavy snow data at first-order stations in the United States. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 23, 16211624.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Christy, J. R., 2012: Searching for information in 133 years of California snowfall observations. J. Hydrometeor., 13, 895913.

  • Daly, C., W. P. Gibson, G. H. Taylor, M. K. Doggett, and J. I. Smith, 2007: Observer bias in daily precipitation measurements at United States Cooperative Network stations. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88, 899912.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Diamond, H. J., and Coauthors, 2013: U.S. Climate Reference Network after one decade of operations: Status and assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 94, 485498.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doesken, N. J., and A. Judson, 1997: The Snow Booklet: A guide to the science, climatology, and measurement of snow in the United States. Colorado State University Rep., 87 pp.

  • Doesken, N. J., and D. A. Robinson, 2009: The challenge of snow measurements. Historical Climate Variability and Impacts in North America, L.-A. Dupigny-Giroux and C. J. Mock, Eds., Springer Science+Business Media, 251–273.

  • Durre, I., M. J. Menne, B. E. Gleason, T. G. Houston, and R. S. Vose, 2010: Comprehensive automated quality assurance of daily surface observations. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 49, 16151633.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dyer, J., and T. L. Mote, 2006: Spatial variability and trends in observed snow depth over North America. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L16503, doi:10.1029/2006GL027258.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Groisman, P. Ya., and D. R. Legates, 1994: The accuracy of United States precipitation data. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 75, 215227.

  • Heim, R. R., Jr., 1996: An overview of the 1961–90 climate normals products available from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Preprints, 22nd Conf. on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Atlanta, GA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 193196.

  • Higgins, R. W., and V. E. Kousky, 2013: Changes in observed daily precipitation over the United States between 1950–79 and 1980–2009. J. Hydrometeor., 14, 105121.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jutla, A. S., D. Small, and S. Islam, 2006: A precipitation dipole in eastern North America. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L21703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027500.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kunkel, K. E., and A. Court, 1990: Climatic means and normals—A statement of the American Association of State Climatologists (AASC). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 71, 201204.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kunkel, K. E., M. A. Palecki, K. G. Hubbard, D. A. Robinson, K. T. Redmond, and D. R. Easterling, 2007: Trend identification in twentieth-century U.S. snowfall: The challenges. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 24, 6473.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Legates, D. R., and G. J. McCabe Jr., 1999: Evaluating the use of “goodness-of-fit” measures in hydrologic and hydroclimatic model evaluation. Water Resour. Res., 35, 233241.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mekis, É., and L. A. Vincent, 2011: An overview of the second generation adjusted daily precipitation dataset for trend analysis in Canada. Atmos.–Ocean, 49, 163177.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Menne, M., I. Durre, R. S. Vose, B. E. Gleason, and T. G. Houston, 2012: An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network-Daily database. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 29, 897910.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mielke, P. W., and K. J. Berry, 2001: Permutation Methods: A Distance Function Approach. Springer-Verlag, 352 pp.

  • Owen, T. W., and T. Whitehurst, 2002: United States climate normals for the 1971–2000 period: Product descriptions and applications. Preprints, Third Symp. on Environmental Applications: Facilitating the Use of Environmental Information, Orlando, FL, Amer. Meteor. Soc., J4.3. [Available online at https://ams.confex.com/ams/annual2002/webprogram/Paper26747.html.]

  • Robinson, D. A., 1989: Evaluation of collection, archiving, and publication of daily snow data in the United States. Phys. Geogr., 10, 120130.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Small, D., and S. Islam, 2008: Low frequency variability in fall precipitation across the United States. Water Resour. Res., 44, W04426, doi:10.1029/2006WR005623.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sun, B., and T. C. Peterson, 2005: Estimating temperature normals for U.S. CRN stations. Int. J. Climatol., 25, 18091817.

  • Sun, B., and T. C. Peterson, 2006: Estimating precipitation normals for U.S. CRN stations. J. Geophys. Res., 111, D09101, doi:10.1029/2005JD006245.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tokay, A., P. G. Bashor, and V. L. McDowell, 2010: Comparison of rain gauge measurements in the mid-Atlantic region. J. Hydrometeor., 11, 553565.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Viney, N. R., and B. C. Bates, 2004: Why it never rains on Sunday: The prevalence and implications of untagged multi-day rainfall accumulations in the Australian high quality dataset. Int. J. Climatol., 24, 11711192.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wijngaard, J. B., A. M. G. Klein Tank, and G. P. Konnen, 2003: Homogeneity of 20th century European daily temperature and precipitation series. Int. J. Climatol., 23, 679692.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilks, D. S., 2006: Statistical Methods in the Atmospheric Sciences. Elsevier, 627 pp.

  • Woolhiser, D. A., and J. Roldán, 1986: Seasonal and regional variability of parameters for stochastic daily precipitation models: South Dakota, U.S.A. Water Resour. Res., 22, 965978.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WMO, 1989: Calculation of monthly and annual 30-year standard normals. World Meteorological Organization Tech. Doc. WMO-TD 341, 12 pp.

  • WMO, 2007: The role of climatological normals in a changing climate. World Meteorological Organization Publ. WCDMP 61, 46 pp.

  • Zhong, Y., Z. Liu, and M. Notaro, 2011: A GEFA assessment of observed global ocean influence on U.S. precipitation variability: Attribution to regional SST variability modes. J. Climate, 24, 693707.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 1107 537 52
PDF Downloads 911 591 291

NOAA’s 1981–2010 U.S. Climate Normals: Monthly Precipitation, Snowfall, and Snow Depth

View More View Less
  • 1 NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 2 ERT, Inc., Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 3 NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Restricted access

Abstract

The 1981–2010 “U.S. Climate Normals” released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center include a suite of monthly, seasonal, and annual statistics that are based on precipitation, snowfall, and snow-depth measurements. This paper describes the procedures used to calculate the average totals, frequencies of occurrence, and percentiles that constitute these normals. All parameters were calculated from a single, state-of-the-art dataset of daily observations, taking care to produce normals that were as representative as possible of the full 1981–2010 period, even when the underlying data records were incomplete. In the resulting product, average precipitation totals are available at approximately 9300 stations across the United States and parts of the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean islands. Snowfall and snow-depth statistics are provided for approximately 5300 of those stations, as compared with several hundred stations in the 1971–2000 normals. The 1981–2010 statistics exhibit the familiar climatological patterns across the contiguous United States. When compared with the same calculations for 1971–2000, the later period is characterized by a smaller number of days with snow on the ground and less total annual snowfall across much of the contiguous United States; wetter conditions over much of the Great Plains, Midwest, and northern California; and drier conditions over much of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. These differences are a reflection of the removal of the 1970s and the addition of the 2000s to the 30-yr-normals period as part of this latest revision of the normals.

Corresponding author address: Imke Durre, NOAA/NCDC Rm. 504, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. E-mail: imke.durre@noaa.gov

Abstract

The 1981–2010 “U.S. Climate Normals” released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center include a suite of monthly, seasonal, and annual statistics that are based on precipitation, snowfall, and snow-depth measurements. This paper describes the procedures used to calculate the average totals, frequencies of occurrence, and percentiles that constitute these normals. All parameters were calculated from a single, state-of-the-art dataset of daily observations, taking care to produce normals that were as representative as possible of the full 1981–2010 period, even when the underlying data records were incomplete. In the resulting product, average precipitation totals are available at approximately 9300 stations across the United States and parts of the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean islands. Snowfall and snow-depth statistics are provided for approximately 5300 of those stations, as compared with several hundred stations in the 1971–2000 normals. The 1981–2010 statistics exhibit the familiar climatological patterns across the contiguous United States. When compared with the same calculations for 1971–2000, the later period is characterized by a smaller number of days with snow on the ground and less total annual snowfall across much of the contiguous United States; wetter conditions over much of the Great Plains, Midwest, and northern California; and drier conditions over much of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. These differences are a reflection of the removal of the 1970s and the addition of the 2000s to the 30-yr-normals period as part of this latest revision of the normals.

Corresponding author address: Imke Durre, NOAA/NCDC Rm. 504, 151 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. E-mail: imke.durre@noaa.gov
Save