KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some people think our winters have been milder in recent years. Is that true?
Every so often, the FOX4 Weather Team will refer to the average temperature for a certain day and perhaps how the current forecast compares to that average.
Of course, as the climate changes over the course of decades, the averages change as well.
Every 10 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looks back at the previous 30 years and recalculates the “new” average.
For example, the newest set of average temperatures, precipitation and snow, all reset in 2021, using data from 1990-2020.
But why does NOAA do this?
The agency always wants to better define the changing climate. Every 10 years, another decade drops out while the most recent one is added. For example, in the most recent update, the 1980s dropped out. Many remember just how hot the ’80s were in Kansas City. Now the more moderate ’90s start things off.
Despite that, though, the trend has been clear: Temperatures over the course of the last 100-plus years are indeed getting warmer.
The changes, though, can be subtle.
Not surprisingly, since a warmer atmosphere has the ability to hold more moisture, we’re seeing more rain.
The new 30-year trends show a 1% increase in precipitation in Kansas City while at the same time a 3% reduction in snow for each calendar year. So now we average 38.3 inches of precipitation and 18.2 inches of snow, down from 18.8 inches.
The only season that’s shown any significant change from a temperature standpoint is winter, which is trending milder compared to the previous average.
The data makes it clear: Winters in Kansas City are slowly getting warmer.