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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

Abstract

Historical (1901–85) summer (June–August) rainfall data in central Illinois were used to construct three typical rain conditions: one representing the typical dry summer (based on the driest 20% of the summers of the past 85 years), a typical wet summer (from the 20% wettest), and the near-average summer rainfall conditions (the 20% nearest the long-term average). Monthly rain totals for each type were established first, then daily rain frequencies were used to define all individual rain day amounts, and historical rain-day amounts by date were used to assign rain days to dates throughout the three types of summers. In-day conditions relating to rainfall rates, time of rain, and durations were constructed for each day of rain. The resulting three summer rainfall conditions are being used to guide applications of water onto agricultural test plots (protected from natural rains) to measure crop yield effects from weather modification but the approach and system could serve other applications like effects of climate change.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.
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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

A midwestern group of 46 scientists and 16 nonscientists were polled at a recent AMS meeting about their beliefs on climate change, the CO2 issue, and the overall importance of these issues. Most indicated a belief in a trend to a climate that is colder, wetter, and has more weather variability. The group also indicated that the reports on CO2 were confusing to them and especially to the public. Finally, they indicated that the ongoing climate shift has been important to their lives.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

Abstract

The distribution of hail days during 1961–80 in the northern Great Plains-Midwest was evaluated on a temporal and spatial basis to help interpret crop-hail losses. Comparisons with earlier (1901–60) hail day data revealed the seven-state study area contained eight permanent areas of high and low incidences found in any 5-year or longer period. The high hail incidence areas were related either to major topographic features or to areas of frequent frontal occurrences. Certain other areas of high or low hail incidence appeared at random locales, lasted 5 to 20 years, and disappeared. The annual and July incidences of hail increased sporadically but steadily from 1901 to 1980 in the Dakotas, Nebraska and Minnesota, reaching a peak during 1961–80. This has led to relatively more crop damage in recent years. In Montana, eastern Iowa, and Illinois, hail has decreased to a low in 1961–80. During the 1961–80 period, hail maximized in 1961–65, being 30% more frequent than in any subsequent 5-year period.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

Mesoscale networks are designed and used to serve various specific purposes. Experience in the operation of several meso-networks has been used to describe those factors to be considered in their design, installation, and operations. Successful operation of networks depends on good management that can optimize project goals and available resources. The primary factors involved include network planning, procurement of facilities and staff, instrument siting, data collection, maintenance, calibration, data processing, and the eventual data bank. Long-term data retention is useful since network data frequently get re-used in subsequent, unforseen research. METROMEX, an on-going program studying urban effects on weather, has 15 sub-networks, and their designs and operations are used as illustrations. Public relations, unexpected problems, and data processing are high-lighted for the rainfall and severe storm networks.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

Abstract

An understanding of applied climatology and its information-generating research requires recognition of the total cause-and-effect spectrum including the issue detection, the research effort pursued, the type of product, the users, and their applications of findings. Twenty climatic information studies done at the Illinois Climate Center in 1977-79 are reviewed to illustrate why they were done, often as a result of general inquiries or specific requests, and a few of their key results. The studies each required from weeks to months to complete. Most users of the results fell in two general classes, government or business-industry. The studies revealed applications in three areas: the design of facilities, the planning and/or operations of facilities and activities, and the climatic assessment of weather extremes.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

Abstract

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

The winter of 1977–78 was the worst, on the basis of both low temperatures and snow, on record in Illinois and many other areas of the Midwest. Representatives of 70 households in central Illinois participated in a detailed study of how the extreme cold and snow affected individuals. The average added cost was $93 per individual, largely to residences and vehicles, and extrapolation of this to all Illinois citizens results in an estimated statewide cost in excess of $1 billion. This was compounded by a wide variety of personal inconveniences, worries, extra work, and injuries. There were no deaths in the sampled group but 52 Illinoisans were killed by the 18 winter storms. For those living in rural areas beyond the city of their employment, costs and inconveniences were greater. The average individual cost was $120, and rural dwellers experienced more travel problems, more delayed services, and more absences from school and work.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.

The State of Illinois has just established a climate center addressing a wide variety of climate-related activities. This center has evolved after 25 years of services, research, and data management addressing the climatology of Illinois and the Midwest. The products of this effort reflect state-related interests in climate information and data. The Illinois program may also help serve as a model for some states who will evolve centers as part of the federal-state cooperative effort that is to be an integral part of the National Climate Program.

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Stanley A. Changnon Jr.
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