Pacific Northwest Trends
The May featured climate tool, an interactive website that displays Pacific Northwest climate trends dependent on user input, was developed by the Office of the Washington State Climatologist. The product spans a wide region including WA, OR, ID, western MT, and southern British Columbia. One of the most popular utilities on the OWSC site, this tool has routinely been used by scientists and interested general public alike. A notable benefit of this utility is its reliance on data that has been adjusted to be suitable for trend analysis (i.e., instrument changes, urban heat island, and biases addressed).
The trend tool uses monthly temperature, precipitation and snow water equivalent data from the United States Historical Climate Network version 2, the Adjusted Historical Canadian Climate Data, and SNOTEL for trend analysis in the region. Note that the snow water equivalent data are not adjusted. The user has many options for the trend analysis, including the option to choose the years (from 1915 to 2010), and the month, season, or annual period. The output includes a Google Map with circles indicating the magnitude and direction of the trend as well as individual plots for each station if you click on the circle. Additional instruction sheets are available on the site.
This utility is useful for a quick glance of different climate trends in the Pacific Northwest region, and would be valuable to many AASC members. Positive feedback has been given from scientists in the region that use the utility, both for their research and to illustrate the sensitivity of trends to the chosen start and end dates.
Each month, an AASC-developed climate tool will be featured from our “Climate Tools Database”, expanding on the short description already listed in the table.
Assistant State Climatologist OWSC