Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2014

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00283.1

Abstract

This paper develops trend estimation techniques for monthly maximum and minimum temperature time series observed in the 48 conterminous United States over the last century. While most scientists concur that this region has warmed on aggregate, there is no a priori reason to believe that temporal trends in extremes and averages will exhibit the same patterns. Indeed, under minor regularity conditions, the sample partial sum and maximum of stationary time series are asymptotically independent (statistically). Previous authors have suggested that minimum temperatures are warming faster than maximum temperatures in the United States; such an aspect can be investigated via the methods discussed in this study. Here, statistical models with extreme value and changepoint features are used to estimate trends and their standard errors. A spatial smoothing is then done to extract general structure. The results show that monthly maximum temperatures are not often greatly changing—perhaps surprisingly, there are many stations that show some cooling. In contrast, the minimum temperatures show significant warming. Overall, the southeastern United States shows the least warming (even some cooling), and the western United States, northern Midwest, and New England have experienced the most warming.

Copyright Statement

© Copyright 2014, American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (http://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyright@ametsoc.org.

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