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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published July 31 2012

Weather Talk: Frequency of 100-degree days on the decline in recent years

The 100-degree temperature in Fargo-Moorhead on July 20 was the first century reading in six years. Many took this as a sign of a warming climate.

Actually, the frequency of 100-degree days in Fargo-Moorhead has been in decline in recent years. During the drier 1970s and 1980s, century days occurred at the average rate of one or two per year. However, since 1989, during a mostly wet period, there have only been four 100-degree days. There was one in June 1995, two in July 2006, and then one a couple of weeks ago; all four occurring during dry intervals of the overall wet period of the past 20 years.

There are numerous indications of a warming climate around the world, but a 100-degree day in Fargo-Moorhead is more a representation of the dryness of the soils than of a changing climate.

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