Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

David W. Stahle

Committee Member

John G. Hehr

Second Committee Member

Malcolm K. Cleaveland

Keywords

Earth sciences; Drought; Heat wave; Temperature; Texas

Abstract

A continuous record of 882,693 daily maximum, minimum, and mean temperature measurements for seven weather stations in central Texas dating from August 1, 1896, to August 31, 2011, were screened and corrected for missing values and inhomogeneities. The resulting data were averaged to create a 115-year unbroken regional record of daily temperature for central Texas. This record indicates warming in daily, seasonal, and annual temperatures. Winter warm temperature extremes have increased over the period of record while warm temperature extremes during the summer months have remained largely unchanged. Summer heat wave days and the length of heat waves have increased significantly since 1897. Cooling degree days have increased and heating degree days have decreased throughout the period of record. The coldest day per year has warmed. Intense multi-year droughts dominate the summer temperature record and account for most of the hottest days per year, most high temperature extremes, and most heat waves. No significant linear trends were detected in summer temperature extremes, but the summer of 2011 was the hottest summer, had the hottest month, the second highest number of heat wave days per year, the longest consecutive heat wave, the highest number of days above the 95th and 97.5th percentiles, the highest number of days ¡Ý 100¡ãF, and the hottest single daily maximum temperature in nearly 115 years.

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