Morehead State University

Poster Title

Using Mesoscale Meteorological Data to Identify Possible Local Effects of Global Climate Change

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

The most recent consensus of the scientific community regarding global climate change is straightforward: “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.” Interestingly, the predicted effects at the global scale are probably not going to be observed uniformly across all latitudes and longitudes. This highlights the importance of observing and analyzing meteorological data at the mesoscale level, that is, weather events that range in size from about one mile to about 150 miles and that might go undetected without densely spaced weather observations. In our state, we are fortunate to have the Kentucky Mesoscale Network (KY Mesonet), a network of over fifty automated weather and climate monitoring stations developed by the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University. The purpose of this study was to apply statistical approaches to data from about 50 KY Mesonet stations to test the predictions of global climate change caused by increased temperature and energy in the atmosphere. Variables that were investigated included maximum, minimum, and average temperature; minimum humidity; precipitation; average wind speed; and cloudiness (using insolation as proxy). Even though climate trends occur over many years, it was hypothesized that statistically significant changes will be identified within the data. Understanding the local effects of climate change is important in order to plan ahead and make any necessary changes to minimize its economic and social impact.

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Using Mesoscale Meteorological Data to Identify Possible Local Effects of Global Climate Change

The most recent consensus of the scientific community regarding global climate change is straightforward: “Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.” Interestingly, the predicted effects at the global scale are probably not going to be observed uniformly across all latitudes and longitudes. This highlights the importance of observing and analyzing meteorological data at the mesoscale level, that is, weather events that range in size from about one mile to about 150 miles and that might go undetected without densely spaced weather observations. In our state, we are fortunate to have the Kentucky Mesoscale Network (KY Mesonet), a network of over fifty automated weather and climate monitoring stations developed by the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University. The purpose of this study was to apply statistical approaches to data from about 50 KY Mesonet stations to test the predictions of global climate change caused by increased temperature and energy in the atmosphere. Variables that were investigated included maximum, minimum, and average temperature; minimum humidity; precipitation; average wind speed; and cloudiness (using insolation as proxy). Even though climate trends occur over many years, it was hypothesized that statistically significant changes will be identified within the data. Understanding the local effects of climate change is important in order to plan ahead and make any necessary changes to minimize its economic and social impact.