NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information have released the new “Climate Normals” for the United States. These numbers reflect an overall warmer and drier change in the climate for much of the United States, Colorado included.
What are Climate Normals? These are what meteorologists refer to as the “average” in terms if rain, snow, and temperature. These are calculated over a 30 year period and updated every 10 years. This long period allows the “Climate Normals” or “averages” to be very balanced, meaning one year of drought and heat or another year of cold and wetter conditions won’t offset an otherwise stable pattern. However, longer term (30 year) changes and trends will be reflected in the numbers. In this case a warmer and drier trend is evident.
The current Climate Normals have been calculated from 1991 to 2020 and show increases in average temperatures and decreases in moisture compared to the 1981 to 2010 numbers.
For Colorado Springs the average high temperature for the year rose 1.9⁰ to 64.1⁰ while the average low temperature rose 1⁰ to 36.8⁰. The average yearly precipitation dropped .63″ to 15.91″ and the average snowfall dropped 5.2″ to 32.5″.
In Pueblo the average high temperature warmed .8⁰ to 69.5⁰ and the average low temperature warmed 1.7⁰ to 37⁰. The average yearly precipitation dropped .55″ to 12.02″ and the average snowfall dropped 3.5″ to 28.3″.
These changes may seem small but they do reflect a changing climate for Colorado. For more on Southern Colorado’s Climate Normals update click here.