An Investigative Analysis of Climate Change Using Historical and Modern Weather Data

(1) Commack High School, Commack, New York

The average air temperature has been increasing in recent years. The purpose of this study was to compare meteorological differences between the 1800s and 2000s using recorded historical and modern weather data from four different time periods, each separated by approximately 60 years. Historical weather data can be used to observe climate change in recent years and in the years dating back to the early 1800s to note if there has been an acceleration of the rate of temperature change over the past two centuries. In this study, air temperatures and various aspects of precipitation were observed and compared among the four time periods. Historical weather data from 1826-1836 were obtained from a journal recorded at Erasmus Hall High School (Brooklyn, NY), digitized, and compared to data recorded during 1894-1898, 1940-1948, and 2003-2012 from various weather stations in proximity to Erasmus Hall High School. Results showed that annual mean temperatures have increased at higher rates in more recent years and that the number of extreme days each year, defined as the days with temperatures ≥ 90ºF (32.2°C) or temperatures ≤ 10ºF (-12.2°C), increased over time. The number of days with precipitation each year has also increased; however, the amount of annual precipitation has remained constant throughout the 35 years used in this study.

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climate history precipitation temperature weather
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