New Normal is a term used when people want to note how much something has changed for the long term. New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration epitomizes that phrase.

The New Normal is hot and hotter says NOAA. The agency released the latest data about climate and shows the way that temperatures are going up.  The dataset is called the U.S. Climate Normals.

Maps by NOAA Climate.gov, based on analysis by Jared Rennie, North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies/NCEI.

“Annual U.S. temperature compared to the 20th-century average for each U.S. Climate Normals period from 1901-1930 (upper left) to 1991-2020 (lower right). Places where the normal annual temperature was 1.25 degrees or more colder than the 20th-century average are darkest blue; places where normal annual temperature was 1.25 degrees or more warmer than the 20th-century average are darkest red,” reports CNN.

From NOAA: “Most of the U.S. was warmer, and the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous U.S. was wetter, from 1991–2020 than the previous normals period, 1981–2010…. Since 1901-1930, the first period for which climate normals were calculated, the contiguous United States has warmed 1.7 degrees, or about 1 degree Celsius. That’s roughly on par with the global rate of warming over that period.”

Take a look at the temperature and precipitation maps from that NOAA website.

“Since 1901-1930, the first period for which climate normals were calculated, the contiguous United States has warmed 1.7 degrees, or about 1 degree Celsius. That’s roughly on par with the global rate of warming over that period, although the United States was lagging the rest of the world until the last several decades,” says the Washington Post.

The report continues: “The country has seen its two largest jumps in temperatures during the two most recent 30-year periods for climate normals. They rose 0.5 degrees from the period 1971-2000 to 1981-2010 and 0.46 degrees from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020. Since 1901-1930, all but two of the 30-year periods have shown an increase in temperature.”

A climate expert from Texas Tech and associated with The Nature Conservancy notes, “The update is huge,” from NOAA. “Why? Because the planet has warmed so much in the last decade. Seven out of the last 10 years have been the warmest on record, and as a whole the last decade was the warmest in human history. Global average temperatures are now more than 1-degree C (nearly 2-degrees F) above pre-industrial levels. As a result of the new climate normals, some locations have shifted into entirely new climate zones. For example, Fairbanks, Alaska is now considered to be in the “warm summer continental zone” rather than ‘sub-Arctic’.”

I write an energy blog, though, so why pay attention to this? Our use of energy and its impact on the environment, contribute to this trend. This data underscores the need for customers to understand energy and for energy companies to perform in their drive to carbon-free electricity.