Directions for Part A:
Part A includes graphs that will help you understand and interpret changes in precipitation, temperature and other factors and their potential relationship to global warming. Part A also includes questions for you to think about regarding the graphs. You will be able to access the answers to all of the questions posed.
1. In the figure above what is the overall trend represented by the data, especially the 10-year running mean?
The overall trend as a decrease in the average annual maximum temperature, until approximately 1982, when the temperature value increased significantly though the end of the decade. 2. How does the maximum temperature at the beginning compare with the end?
The maximum temperature at the end of the period was nearly as high as it was at the beginning, with the increase occurring over a much shorter time period.3. How does the maximum temperature in the late 1970s compare with the end of the 1980s?
The maximum temperature in the late l970s was at its lowest point, while at the end of the decade had reached some of its highest levels of the 30-year period.4. What could explain this?
The late 1970s were associated with some of the coldest and most severe winter’s in U.S. history. January of 1977 was the coldest January in the history of the U.S., and several studies were done of the likelihood of descending into another “Little Ice Age”. Overall, the increase of the maximum temperatures in the final decade of the data presented may represent the first indications of human-induced “global warming”.
The overall trend of the average minimum temperature data is a bit different. There is a low value in the early 1980s, but it does not represent the lowest data in the chronologic data set; that occurs at the beginning of the data set in the early 1960s. There are peaks in the early 1970s and at the end of the data set in the late 1980s. The general trend of the 10-year running mean is upward.
Global warming theory indicates that with increasing global and local temperatures, there should be increased rate of evaporation. This should lead to more moisture being available in the atmosphere. This increased moisture in the atmosphere could lead to more cloud cover/fog/haze, which would tend to hold more heat in the lower atmosphere, leading to higher minimum temperatures.
The minimum temperatures, in the 10-year running mean, increases more than 1 degree, with no instance of a decline over any point of that last decade
The averaging of the maximum and minimum data indicates a roughly stable temperature in the first decade, declining average temperatures in the second decade, and rapidly increasing in the 3rd decade.
The pattern is a mixture of the 2, but seems to more closely represent the maximum data.
The average temperature increased by almost 1 degree over that time period.
The data from the 1980s indicated a rapidly increasing average temperature, which seems to support the idea that we were entering a period of rapid global warming.
Although it varies from year-to-year there is a downward tendency in the size of the daily temperature range, of more than 1 degree Fahrenheit.
A declining daily temperature range would indicate that the difference between the daily maximum and minimum temperatures is growing smaller and smaller.
Since minimum temperatures are increasing faster than maximum temperatures, this would appear to be the case. The data does seem to agree with that.
A rapid increase in the first decade, with a a very slight increase since then.
Since the levels of precipitation have increased significantly, from 39 inches at the beginning of the period to 42 inches at the end, that would appear to be the case. The complication here is that with increasing temperatures rates of evaporation and transpiration would be increasing too.
17. How does the annual precipitation at the beginning of the data period compare to the end?
Increasing from 39 inches to 42 inches in the 10-year running mean data. In fact, the last year of the data set showed precipitation far in excess of any other year.
A general increase, especially late in the period of days of light precipitation.
A significant increase, from 168 to 184 in the 10-year running mean, an increase of almost 10%.
From beginning to end an increase, However, it peaks in the late 1970s.
In the 10-year running mean data, there are 52 days of moderate precipitation at the beginning, it rises to 60 in the late 1970s, and drops to as low as 56 in the late 1980s, an increase over the entire data set, but somewhat depressed during te 1980s.
It may indicate, with increasing temperatures and evaporation, more drought-prone conditions, in the 1980s, due to decreased levels of moderate precipitation. The last upward spike may not be significant, in that that single year may be anomalous.
The overall trend, from the beginning point to the end point is down.
There a concentration of heavy precipitation days in the 1960s. The 5-year running mean data seems to indicate wide swings in the data from year-to-year. The peaks and valleys seem to be 1-2 year periods on the 5-year averaged data.
Any differences in the heavy precipitation days would appear to be inconsequential, except with reference to flood or flash-flood events. The reason is that the number of heavy precipitation events is so small over the course of the year has a small impact, and is demonstrated by the great variability from year-to-year.
A rapid and steady increase in the number of days of precipitation.
221 days at the beginning to 243 days at the end in the 10-year running mean.
The number of light precipitation events.
The precipitation data alone does not give us definitive information. It does indicate that the amounts of precipitation and days of precipitation indicate increasing levels of moisture which may be the result of increasing temperature, evaporation, and the resulting condensation. The one exception may be the decreasing numbers of days of moderate precipitation in the 1980s.
A general increase in evapotranspiration, with a peak in the late 1970s.
According to global warming theory, we would expect similar or lower amounts of precipitation, as well as increased levels of evapotranspiration due to the higher temperatures.
Actual evapotranspiration was mostly stable, slightly declining, This, by itself, would have indicated that global warming, as we currently understand the theory was not acting the way we would expect.
A downward movement from beginning to end.
There have been increasing deficits at this location since the late 1970s, which would agree with global-warming induced droughts.
An increase in the level of surpluses.
Yes, surpluses peaked at the beginning of the 1970s and at the end of the 1980s, being roughly stable in-between. This would not seem to support the idea of global warming induced droughts.
The overall trend is an increase in runoff, which should translate into increase surface and stream flow.
An increase from 13.2 to 15.5 inches from the beginning to the end of the period. An initial peak in the early 1970s reached 15.1 inches.
The 5-year running mean data seemed to run in 2-3 year cycles of maximums and minimums, but the peaks of the cycles grew to higher and higher levels. This data, by itself, would not appear to agree with the consequences of global warming, as we have understood them to this point.
Your completed Project 2 Part B, should total approximately 8 pages, double-spaced, roughly 2000 words.
For Part B, your essay should be addressing the questions/points below:
In short, we are looking at a specific geographic area, the Wabash Watershed. We are looking at a specific time period, 1961-1990, utilizing raw, 5-year average, and 10-year average data, with respect to temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, moisture surplus, moisture deficit, and surface runoff. What does this data tell about this region over this time period, and what does it indicate about the future? Does this tell us anything, positively or negatively about global warming theory?
These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself as you analyze and report on this data and tell us what it all means. Good Luck!
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