New U.S. Climate Normals Show Colorado Is Becoming A Warmer, Drier Place To Live

The new normals use weather data from 1991 through 2020.

Video Transcript

- Earth is getting hotter. Brand new data shows Colorado is getting drier as well.

- The trend certainly is troubling. CBS 4 meteorologist Chris Spears takes a closer look at the new climate normal as part of our Eye on Earth special reports.

CHRIS SPEARS: Well, today is a pretty big day in the field of meteorology. The new climate normals were released. So we were using 1981 through 2010. Now we use 1991 through 2020 when we're trying to compare what today is like compared to the 30 year average. And this is more than the mathematical average you probably are picturing in your mind. This is a very complex process. A lot of equations, a lot of statistics used to weed out bad data, et cetera. And there's a lot of information. 15,000 plus precipitation stations, or roughly 15,000, and over 7,000 temperature points around the country.

So putting all that together, take a look at this map. This is what the result is, and a lot of the country trending wetter than the previous 30 year period. You can see many locations in the green. But what really sticks out, the Desert Southwest. Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, over toward California. The previous 30 years trending drier than the one before that. And there are some states where the data is a little bit mixed. Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, you see a little bit of drier than normal, a little bit of wetter than normal just depending on the location.

For temperatures, it's a pretty big story in terms of most of the country leaning to warmer than normal. But you do see a little blue there in the Upper Midwest, North and South Dakota, Montana, a few spots actually trending cooler. All of Colorado trending warmer than normal, including Denver, running about a degree and a half warmer than at the turn of the century.

So today starts the new normals. We'll be talking more about this, I'm sure, in the days and weeks ahead as we make new comparisons and learn more about this complicated and crazy climate, not only in Colorado, but the United States. I'm meteorologist Chris Spears.