Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quick Access to Climate Trends

As reported in The Guardian today, the University of East Anglia has released an interactive Google Earth layer for accessing observed climate trends within 5 by 5 degree grid boxes or at individual observing sites.  

Climate trends for grid boxes are accessed simply by navigating with Google Earth to the area of interest and then clicking on the grid box.

You can then access individual stations by clicking on stations on the pop up window.  Below is the time series for Salt Lake City.  

You can access the layer/KML file here and play around with it yourself.  It is also easy to access data for grid boxes or stations if you are so inclined.   Enjoy!


  1. Really cool, but why do they measure the temperature departure from the mean period 1961-1990? Seems like an arbitrary period and choosing another 30 year period could make the data look completely different.

    1. It is standard in climate science to use a 30 year perron for climate average. I suspect the selection of 1961-1990 is historical and they have just stuck with it. I don't think changing the decade with affect the overall trend, which is the key signal.

    2. The trend is especially apparent here in the west. I was curious because after looking at the Gulf Coast region (Louisiana-Georgia grids) the signal is a bit more cluttered with a cooler period during that same 30 year period. Choosing another period for this region would change the look of those graphs tremendously.

    3. The west has warmed more rapidly than the contiguous US. The weaker warming trend during the 20th century in portions of the southeast has sometimes been called a "global warming hole" and attributed to regional scale circulation anomalies, irrigation effects, and/or the effects of pollution. It is true that the look of the graphs will depend on the 30 year period as it affects the position of the baseline. This, however, doesn't change the trends.

      A nice graph of the long-term trend for the SE region is at http://www.seclimate.org/pdfpubs/2013/SE-NCA-draft8-color.pdf (see Fig. 2.7).