A report prepared by Dr. David A. Robinson, New Jersey State Climatologist
for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection
The graphs presented in the NJ Climate Report Card have been updated to reflect the years since the original report was completed in 2005. In most cases, data from the listed station were utilized, though temporal data gaps resulted in the substitution of data from nearby surrogates. The report narrative below describes the project methods employed in the first version of the Climate Report Card in 2005.
Amidst growing evidence that our global climate is changing as a result of human activities, are specific concerns regarding the local and regional impacts such changes may be having or may eventually have on nature and society. Such worries are justified around the globe, including New Jersey, the most densely populated of the United States. Changes in our State's climate are likely to impact natural flora and fauna, human health and safety, agricultural productivity, fresh-water resources, tourism, transportation, and business and commerce in general.
It is imperative that we better understand the nature of the climate of New Jersey in order to recognize the significance of its possible ongoing or future behavior. This includes the variability of the system on annual and decadal scales. To begin to recognize and understand climate change, an evaluation was conducted in 2003 as to how several climatic variables have behaved over the past century. This was accomplished by identifying five stations across the Garden State with relatively lengthy and consistent records of temperature and precipitation, importing station data into a sophisticated database, and generating time series of information gleaned from these variables. This information was presented in public lectures and via the World Wide Web.
Results of this study were well received, suggesting that a follow on project might prove worthwhile. As such, a proposal was prepared and subsequently funded, permitting the Office of the NJ State Climatologist (ONJSC) to continue developing the New Jersey Climate Report Card. As before, this mini-grant was provided through the NJ Center for Environmental Indicators and funded by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). We are grateful to individuals in each unit for their support.
The second phase of the Report Card project has included the development of more temporally complete datasets at the five original stations, along with 14 others. There has also been some expansion of the precipitation and temperature variables being assessed.
This project included the creation of over 600 time series graphs of temperature, thermal degree days, and precipitation from 19 National Weather Service Cooperative Observing Stations in New Jersey. Station observations began as long ago as 1893 at some stations, and all sites extend back to at least 1948. The longevity, completeness and spatial coverage of the database generated for this study is unique and unprecedented for New Jersey climate station records. Accompanying the graphs prepared for this report is extensive documentation of the station data employed in the study. This includes a map of station locations, a summary table showing station information, detailed station histories, and charts depicting the percentages of data from each primary station and surrogate stations that went into creating temporally complete data records.
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