The New Climate Normals Show US Getting Hotter and East Getting Wetter


The NCEI, part of the NOAA, released its latest set of 30-year Climate Normals, revealing a “new” normal that shows most of the United States is getting hotter, the West is getting drier, and the East is getting wetter.

New normal shows the US getting warmer

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released its latest 30-year dataset covering the years between 1991-2020 this week, with updated maps establishing the new annual average temperatures for the United States and precipitation.

Most remarkable of all, the NOAA also produced a comparison map showing the temperature differences in the US between 1901-1930 and 1991-2020 were startling. For most of the western half of the US, and along the northern corridor, the Northeast, and the southern half of Florida, temperatures rose + 4 to +5 degrees Fahrenheit by comparison.

Another NOAA annual mean temperature map which compares the difference between 1981-2010 and 1991-2020, reveals that most of the US has experienced a temperature increase of +1 degrees Fahrenheit.

A wetter East, drier West, and South a mix of both

The NOAA annual precipitation map looking at the past 30 years between 1991-2020 shows the eastern half of the US has become markedly wetter, while the West has become significantly drier. The South encompasses a mix of both extremes.

In the West, dry skin moisturizer has become a must. The majority of California has become more dehydrated, extreme in some places. Drier conditions also affect the previously rainy western coasts of Oregon and Washington, where precipitation has fallen by as much as -5 to -4 inches per decade.

In the eastern half of the US, conditions have become significantly wetter. Most of Arkansas and Kentucky and the southern regions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio precipitation have seen precipitation increase by as much as 5 inches per decade.

The southern US is experiencing a mix of conditions within the same states, meaning wetter in some parts and drier, even drought-like in others. For example, portions of eastern Texas are wetter, while the state’s central, southern and southeastern areas are drier. Similarly, northern Louisiana is wetter, while the southeast region is significantly drier. In Florida, the Panhandle and southern parts of the state are drier, while the Western area is wetter. A similar mixture of markedly wetter and drier region changes occurs in other southern states, including Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia.