How hot has it been in Indy in 2012?
Continuing with the theme yesterday, I decided to take a look at one more Midwestern city -- Indianapolis, home of the annual Indy 500 and the 2012 Super Bowl. Today, I am comparing the mean temperatures at Indianapolis to the 1961-1990 normals for Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa is some 591 miles southwest of Indianapolis as the crow flies, or about 636 miles via highway travel. Remarkably, Indianapolis has seen temperatures this year very similar to those of late 20th Century Tulsa!
Like the comparisons yesterday, I've limited the analysis to major metropolitan areas with busy airports. This is designed to limit the effects of urban heat island contamination. An even starker comparison could have been made by looking at outlying, more rural areas such as Bartlesville, OK.
The 1961-1990 normals for Indianapolis and Tulsa can be found at the links below. The temperatures for Indianapolis in 2012 come from the NWS. Note that for the average mean temperature for the July 1 through July 15 period, I simply used the means for the entire month. Typically, the second half of July is slightly warmer, but only about a tenth or two-tenths of a degree. This would have the effect of actually lowering the means reported below slightly, but the effect is minimal, and I corrected it to represent 15 days worth of data, rather than the full 31 days.
The average mean temperature for Tulsa for the period January 1 through July 15, based on 1961-1990 data was 57.9F. The average mean temperature for Indianapolis over that same period was 49.4F.
In 2012, the mean temperature for Indianapolis has been an incredible 56.7F. This is a remarkable 7.3F higher than the 1961-1990 normal and just 1.2F below the 1961-1990 normal for Tulsa! With more heat forecast through July and possibly into August, it is possible that at some point the year-to-date mean at Indy could even exceed the 1961-1990 year-to-date mean for Tulsa.
And again I don't mean to imply that this is entirely due to climate change or that it's the "new normal." Nevertheless, the warming of the climate system has certainly made these types of anomalies more likely in recent years. And it's unlikely that we will EVER see a period where the first half of the year at Indy averages 7.3F BELOW the 1961-1990 norm for the city airport. These temperatures, however, will become more prevalent in the coming decades and may sometime, not so far off in the future, come to be considered rather normal...
Note: This will be my last blog for a while, as I'm going to be busy in the coming days. I'll probably post an update featuring some hot July statistics from the midwest towards the end of the month or in early August.
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