KY Climate Trends Graphlet
October’s featured climate tool, developed by the Kentucky Climate Center using S-Plus software, displays long-term climate records for the four KY climate divisions in an interactive plot format. The plots use a smoothing curve to track changes in temperature and precipitation since 1895, helping to place recent climate conditions in a historical context.
This tool uses the long-term monthly climate division data set from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Clicking on one of the four KY climate regions (West, Central, Bluegrass, and East) opens the graphical summaries in a separate window. Annual, seasonal, and monthly divisional averages are shown for temperature and precipitation. Moving the cursor over the graph gives specific information for each data point, such as the average temperature and where that year ranks in the long-term record. The smoothing curve, based on a locally weighted regression model using 30-year averages, provides the flexibility to track persistent patterns in KY climate without undue influence given to extreme data values. Further details about this smoothing method can be found at the site.
The Kentucky Climate Center has found that the effort developing this tool was worthwhile, as the graphics are commonly presented at conferences and public engagement talks and are well received. While the tool was originally developed for a general audience, it is also relevant, by providing context, for those engaged in operational and strategic planning for economic activities that are impacted by weather and climate.
Each month, an AASC-developed climate tool will be featured from our “Climate Tools Database”, expanding on the short description already listed in the table.
Assistant State Climatologist OWSC