Look at that sunset!

PHOENIX (3TV/ CBS 5) -- A question I get asked a lot lately is, "Could our cooler than normal temperatures have an impact on climate change?"

It's a good question. The simple answer is "not much." However, there's more to the numbers than that.

Over the weekend, Phoenix's National Weather Service released a graphic showing the coolest May since 1988.

That's a big deal.

Well, it's sort of a big deal.

Graphic from Phoenix's NWS showing May 2019 being the coolest since 1988

Now, take a look at the entire Phoenix weather record that extends back to 1895. It turns out this May was "only" the 41st coolest and 35th wettest on record.

It was sort of a ho-hum, right in the middle of the all-time numbers kind of May.

May 2019 is the 41st coolest on record
May 2019 was the 35th wettest on record

What to note about this? Temperatures warmed up significantly more in metro Phoenix in the last 40 years. Since it is so unusual now, the fact that we had a cool month is interesting. It wouldn't have drawn so much attention 40 years ago.

Going forward, will it have much impact on the future average temperatures in May? Well, not really.

If you used the entire record since 1895, this May would be one of about 125 “Mays” and would hardly budge the needle. However, the Weather Service does produce “normals” over 30-year periods every decade.

Currently, we’re using the temps from 1981-2010 for our averages. Come the end of 2020, those will be recalculated. As a result, this past May will be one of 30 Mays averaged in. So, yes, there could be a small impact. We might see a daily temp drop a degree. Or we may not.

3TV Chief Meteorologist Royal Norman always has his eye on the radar and how weather conditions might affect the people of Arizona.  He also loves telling those quintessential stories that are uniquely Arizona. With 35 years of experience forecasting weather and his vast knowledge of Arizona and its micro climates, Royal is an Arizona Weather Authority. 

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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