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Publication Abstract

Climate Atlas of Illinois Changnon, Stanley A., James R. Angel, Kenneth E. Kunkel, and Christopher M. B. Lehmann, 2004  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS IEM 2004-02    Full Text Available
As a result of 60 years of intensive studies, more is known about the climate of Illinois than about that of any other area of the world. This atlas brings together this knowledge and climate data and information, providing a unique and comprehensive look at the state's climate.

With a continental location far from any oceans, Illinois has wide extremes of both temperature and precipitation that occur over days, weeks, months, and years. Summers are traditionally hot and humid, and winters are cold and snowy. Many consider the more moderate temperatures of spring and fall, the transition seasons, to be the most pleasant. Some potentially dangerous storms occur in every season. Winter can bring huge snowstorms, damaging ice storms, or both. Warmer months, typically March–October, have convective storms, including thunderstorms and lightning, flood-producing rainstorms, hail, and deadly tornadoes. All seasons have damaging high winds.

This atlas focuses on climatic conditions during the 20th Century. Individual chapters address temperatures, precipitation, and the energy budget and winds. Major extremes, including all types of storms, are the subject of one chapter, and another focuses on special local and regional climates, including those caused by Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois, the hills of southern Illinois, and the urban climates of the large metropolitan areas of Chicago and St. Louis. There are chapters on atmospheric quality and descriptions of particularly noteworthy weather events of the past 100 years, such as the famed Tri-state tornado in 1925, record heat waves in 1936, and the state's worst winter storm in January 1967. Another chapter describes the weather conditions that determine the climate, and a final chapter discusses global warming, long-range predictions, climate measurements, and typical weather days. An extensive bibliography and glossary are included, One appendix addresses instrumentation, climate statistics, and terminology; the other presents actual climate data for selected locations in Illinois.

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