Forecasting Change: Earth warming is the ‘new normal’

New calculations from NOAA push normal highs and lows higher

This color-coded map shows changing global surface temperature anomalies.  Higher than normal temperatures are shown in red and lower than normal temperatures in blue.
This color-coded map shows changing global surface temperature anomalies. Higher than normal temperatures are shown in red and lower than normal temperatures in blue. (NOAA)

This week in Forecasting Change we look at the warming of our planet and the “new normal” that we are now living.

When you hear us say “today the high was 10 degrees above normal” we are saying that the high was 10 degrees above the normal on this day over the last 30 years. This week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released new figures for what is now normal.

This new calculation has dropped the decade of the 80s in their calculations for what is normal. And, while I suppose there is a lot about the 80s I’d like to forget, the removing of the decade, and the addition of the 2010s, pushes the normal highs and lows higher.

Check out this graphic below to see the stark difference in the temperature from the decades.

Showing the stark differences in temperature norms. (WKMG)

The map on the left shows the warming since the turn of the century 100 years ago back in 1901. The map below shows the right shows the warming for the last normal period vs the new one for the last 30 years.

The only area that has not increased significantly is the Northern Great Plains. The warming in Florida is just as alarming.

The graph below shows the trend for Orlando. Our new normal versus the temperature from the last century is almost 2 full degrees.

In Orlando warming is the new normal. Check out the graph showing the differences over the years. (WKMG)

Being warmer, and getting warmer earlier, leads to a batch of problems. Some of those we have addressed in prior stories. But for now, the air conditioning has been running for the last week in Central Florida. The bugs, ticks and other pests have had a mild winter and we remain behind in rainfall for the year so far.

And summer has not even started. It is all part of our new normal.


About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.