Geojournal W13: A change will do you

When discussing climate, I have something of a handicap. I move too often. Climate is determined by the numbers gathered over a 30 year period for a location. While I have 30 years under my belt, I don’t have roots in a place quite long enough to be able to know what is normal and what is not.

There are some things I’m learning. After a few years in Colorado, I can predict that spring is going to have daily thunderstorms that don’t last too long, but are enough to cause one of my dad’s dogs to freak out. Which is fine, I think she deserves it, but as the person likely to be at home, having to deal with it, it is sure annoying.

But until this journal, I never really thought much about how we actually use climate in our day to day lives. I dropped a random string of words into google and came up with this article from the Denver Post:

Colorado weather: The new normals are coming

January 2021, it says, is the start of basing weather assumptions for Denver off of a new baseline. And that thought hadn’t occurred to me before. I knew that meteorologists had to base their predictions off of something, but I hadn’t really thought about what they used. Thinking about it more critically now, of course they couldn’t use ‘all of history’ for their results, because that’s going to be shifting all over the place. Maybe I could see a system weighted to give a bit more import to the more recent results, but that has its own complications.

There will always be issues in determining what counts as ‘normal.’ All human endeavors that deal with time have this issue. From how busy your favorite sandwich shop it, to when the good TV shows come on, to when your advertisement will get the most bang for its buck. All are dealing with the same issues, of how to predict future behavior, based on what we’ve seen in the past. And a technique of redefining normal just makes sense in a way I hadn’t considered before.

After reading that article, I wanted to sink my teeth into what the normals actually were. So I found this

A site that has the normals for 1981-2010. Apparently, the results for 1991-2020 won’t be released until May from what I saw. But this site can show you the raw data of what the results are for your local area. (In the US. This might be available in other areas, but idk. If you want help searching for things, hit me up!)

I can’t explain how much this idea is causing my heada’splode. It feels so obvious in hindsight, but to codify changes over time by ‘forgetting’ things? simply amazing.

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