As many experts have predicted, global warming won't occur uniformly, in time or space. Limited evidence reinforcing this is provided in a report on large variations during 2000-2007 in the degree to which US city temperatures have diverged from the longer-term average. The report was released Oct. 15, 2008, by the advocacy group Environment America.
- "Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States." Release (includes a link to the report).
The report's data is from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, and represents the 255 weather stations with the highest quality data, in 50 states and Washington, DC.
Overall, the group found that for 2000-2007 nearly 90% of the stations exceeded the 1971-2000 average by at least 0.5 degrees F. The two cities whose 2000-2007 average was most above the 30-year average covered a wide geographic range, from Talkeetna, AK (+3.8 degrees) to Reno, NV (+3.5 degrees). A couple dozen other stations had an increase of at least 2.0 degrees. The handful of cities with a small decline included Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; and a few in coastal southern California. The group also evaluated average minimum and maximum temperatures, which had pronounced changes and variations.
As you prepare your stories, keep in mind that short-term data such as this is an insignificant indicator of climate change on its own. And you may want to get the opinion of your state or localclimatologist(s) or other experts regarding the quality of this report and the implications of the findings.
For one example of media coverage of the report, see:
- "Study Shows Reno Significantly Warmer in 2007," Reno Gazette-Journal, Oct. 16, 2008, by Guy Clifton.
For an extensive list of sources and information on climate change, see SEJ's collection: