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Environ Int. 2003 Jun;29(2-3):263-75.

Analysis of climate trends in North Carolina (1949-1998).

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  • 1State Climate Office of North Carolina, Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, 27695-7236, Raleigh, NC, USA. ryan_boyles@ncsu.edu

Abstract

North Carolina has one of the most complex climates in the United States (U.S.). Analysis of the climate in this state is critical for agricultural and planning purposes. Climate patterns and trends in North Carolina are analyzed for the period 1949-1998. Precipitation, minimum temperature, and maximum temperature are analyzed on seasonal and annual time scales using data collected from the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Network. Additionally, changes in patterns of occurrence of the last spring freeze and first fall freeze are investigated. Linear time series slopes are analyzed to investigate the spatial and temporal trends of climate variability in North Carolina. Spatial analysis of climate variability across North Carolina is performed using a geographic information system. While most trends are local in nature, there are general statewide patterns. Precipitation in North Carolina has increased over the past 50 years during the fall and winter seasons, but decreased during the summer. Temperatures during the last 10 years are warmer than average, but are not warmer than those experienced during the 1950s. The warm season has become longer, as measured by the dates of the last spring freeze and first fall freeze. Generally, the last 10 years were the wettest of the study period. These conclusions are consistent with earlier studies that show that the difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures is decreasing, possibly due to increased cloud cover and precipitation. Similarly, these results show that temperature patterns are in phase with the North Atlantic Oscillation and precipitation patterns appear to be correlated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

PMID:
12676213
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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