The NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information offers key messages about the current climate of Virginia based on cumulative temperature and weather data. Their State Climate Summary for Virginia shows data on Virginia’s current climate and climate projections based on current conditions.
The summary says that since the beginning of the 20th century, Virginia has seen increasing temperatures. Naturally occurring droughts are projected to be more intense due to increased evaporation rates, which will in turn accelerate soil moisture loss and challenge the agriculture industry. The number and intensity of extreme heat and precipitation events in Virginia will increase while cold waves will be less frequent and less intense.
The narrative in the state summary includes tables that include observed and projected temperature change from 1900-2100, and tables for the observed number of very hot days or very warm nights in 5-year periods from 1900 to 2014. Tables for annual precipitation and summer precipitation from 1900 to 2014 show a slight upward trend since 2000. Summer precipitation is highly variable but was above average during the most recent period (2015–2020). The table for the observed number of very cold nights shows data that has been below average since 1990.
The summary states that if the warming trend in Virginia continues, heat waves will intensify and pose health risks for people, especially those in metropolitan areas. Periodic droughts, a natural part of Virginia’s climate, are projected to be more intense. Even if overall precipitation increases, higher temperatures will increase the rate of soil moisture loss during dry spells.
The summary states that since 1900, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches. It is projected to rise more as a result of both past and future emissions from human activities. The summary explains that sea level rise has caused an increase in tidal floods associated with nuisance-level impacts such as damage to infrastructure, road closures, and overwhelmed storm drains.
Details on observations and projections are available on the Technical Details and Additional Information page of the website.
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