CLIMATOLOGY OF 90-DEGREE DAYS IN THE AREA

The number of 90-degree days has seen a bit of a decline since the 1930s in our area, as has drought. The decline in long-term droughts seems to coincide with a bit of a decline in 90s day & also 100s days.

Posted: Jul 9, 2018 2:36 PM
Updated: Jul 9, 2018 6:13 PM

In 40 years of data at West Lafayette (Purdue Agronomy Farm), the average number of 90-degree days in a year is 16.7 or roughly 17.  The last time we had a summer reach normal was 2012 (had 52 that year, which beat even the great 1988 drought summer by 6 days!)

The overall trend since the 1930s has been a downward trend in the number of 90s days & especially 100s days.  There has also been an overall decrease in drought since the 1930s & the 1950s. 

Since 1978, the least number of 90s in a year was 1979 with 2.  The greatest number was 52 in 2012.  In 2018, we are already at 11 at the Ag Farm (put 12 on the chart with the assumption we did get to 90 today).  At the Purdue Airport, we have had 13, so far (14 if we get to 90 today).  Most of these 90s days occur June-August, so we are nearing the halfway point to meteorological summer.  If the current trends hold, then we should end up with around 22 or 23 days in the 90s by the end of summer & we can always have a few in September.  Such has happened many times.  Once the corn crop & soils dry, we have seen multiple occasions of the highest temperature of the year in September.  Trends suggest less 90s days after mid-July to August.

This year may end being quite an oddity.  If trends hold & we do not see a high temperature at or above 97, then this would be one of the very few years that would have the maximum yearly temperature in May, when it normally occurs in mid to late July.  Less than 2% of all years since 1879 have seen the maximum annual temperature in May in our region.

1978-2018
# 90-Degree Days
1978  14
1979    2
1980  19
1981    9
1982   5
1983   42
1984   16
1985    6
1986   12
1987   19
1988   46
1989   10
1990   11
1991    29
1992     3
1993     3
1994    10
1995    31
1996     9
1997    13
1998    18
1999    24
2000     9
2001    19
2002    25
2003    12
2004     4
2005    31
2006    21
2007    32
2008     3
2009     7
2010    25
2011     29
2012    52
2013     8
2014    15
2015    11
2016     9
2017     6
2018    11 (so far)

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