Forecasting Temperatures Easier Than Rain

Taylor Hillman Environment, Water, Weather

Forecasting Temperatures
Predicting precipitation in California can be a hard task. Forecasting temperatures for the state is much easier and climatologists say there is a clear warming trend.

Forecasting Temperatures Easier Than Rain

Variability and Forecasting

California weather can be hard to predict outside of a relatively short period of time. AgNet West has talked about this issue before with California Department of Water Resources (DWR) State Climatologist Michael Anderson. He said the state has some of the greatest variability in the United States. Interstate Resources Manager for DWR Jeanine Jones agrees and says the year-to-year rain totals in California can be drastically different. “California is unique if you look across the nation in that we have the largest annual variability of precipitation of any place in the country,” Jones says. “On the East Coast you might have a place whose average annual precipitation is 40 inches and they swing between 30 and 50. Here on the west coast, particularly in California, we can have fluctuations much more greater than that from year-to-year.”

State Getting Hotter

Jones says predicting temperature is much different. Experts who monitor these numbers say there is a clear warming trend going on and Jones says that’s what the predictions are for the future. “When the science community does climatology studies and they look at seasonal scale predictions their skill is much higher with temperatures than precipitation,” Jones says. “We have seen over the past couple of decades record warming going on in terms of statewide average temperatures. That’s what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate prediction center calls for in it’s forecast going into our next winter season.”