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NOAA releases new climate normal for 1991-2020

New annual normal changes from NOAA looking at previous 1980-2010 climate normals to new data...
New annual normal changes from NOAA looking at previous 1980-2010 climate normals to new data from 1991-2020.(Climate Central)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 10:17 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association released new climate normals that now take into account data from 1991-2020. This process is updated every 10 years to account for climate changes across different regions. Previously, climate normals took into account data from 1981-2010.

These numbers refer to climate data or an average for the day. For example, the average high for May 4th is 68° in Cedar Rapids. Overall, scientists with the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), an enitity of NOAA, are showing an overall warmer and wetter trend for the country with these new normals.

U.S. Annual Temperatures Compared to 20th Century Average
U.S. Annual Temperatures Compared to 20th Century Average(NCEI/NOAA)

Locally broken down by meteorological season, Cedar Rapids is trending slightly warmer for high temperatures in the winter season (December, January, February) and slightly cooler the rest of the year. Average low temperatures are also trending warmer all through the year. Cedar Rapids is also trending wetter during the spring and summer months, and slightly drier through the fall and winter months.

Cedar Rapids climate normals compared from 1981-2020 to newly released data for 1991-2020.
Cedar Rapids climate normals compared from 1981-2020 to newly released data for 1991-2020.(NWS Quad Cities)

Dubuque is also trending slightly warmer with these new averages for high temperatures in the winter and fall months while trending slightly cooler in the spring and summer months. Low temperatures are trending cooler in the spring and fall months, slightly warmer in the winter months, and about the same for the summer. Dubuque is also trending wetter when it comes to bigger rainfall events over 0.5″, but slightly drier through the year when it comes to events smaller than that.

Dubuque climate normals compared from 1981-2020 to newly released data for 1991-2020.
Dubuque climate normals compared from 1981-2020 to newly released data for 1991-2020.(NWS Quad Cities)

Iowa City is trending warmer than the last set of climate normal throughout the entire year for high and low temperatures. Precipitation is slightly up during the winter and spring, but trending drier during the summer and fall months.

Iowa City climate normals compared from 1981-2020 to newly released data for 1991-2020.
Iowa City climate normals compared from 1981-2020 to newly released data for 1991-2020.(NWS Quad Cities)

***Text that is highlighted red in charts above indicated that the 1991-2020 normals are either warmer or drier and text that highlighted green indicated new normals are cooler or wetter***

Detailed data like for Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Dubuque has not been released yet for the Waterloo area.

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