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This 'new normal' is about Delaware's climate

Delaware Public Media

Every ten years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) puts out new climate “normals.” The ones released Tuesday reinforce that Delaware is getting warmer and wetter.

Most of the country saw higher temperatures, and the eastern half saw more precipitation, during the three decades between 1991 and 2020, compared to between 1981 and 2010. 

NOAA's 30-year normals are used to compare a given day’s conditions to what’s considered typical for the area. They’re also used for long-term planning, says Kevin Brinson, associate state climatologist for Delaware. 

“Even construction and trade and transportation sectors are looking at these things when they design different structures,” he said. 

Delaware’s new climate normals are between roughly .5 and 1 degree fahrenheit warmer than the previous ones. Brinson says the largest changes were in the fall and winter. 

“The main reasons for these temperature changes, which are also consistent with our larger climate trends, is due to the changes in minimum temperature,” he said. “So the overnight temperatures are generally speaking not as cold as they used to be. ”

Brinson adds the new “normal” growing season in Delaware is several days longer, and varies throughout the state.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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