Climate Central recently revealed a new way to understand the link between our daily weather and human-caused climate change. It’s called the Climate Shift Index.

As the atmosphere of the Earth warms, we’ve seen a shift in climate. In our current climate, the overall average is warmer, but there is also a better chance of experiencing extreme heat than extreme cold.

We’ve already witnessed this in Iowa. Since 2000 Des Moines has broken 152 heat records and only 35 cold records. The majority of the heat records have occurred during the overnight as the average low temperature continues to rise.

Climate Shift Index

The Climate Shift Index shows whether our daily high and low temperature are becoming more likely/more common or less likely/less common due to human-caused climate change.

  • +1 to +5: the observed or forecast temperature is becoming more likely or more common due to climate change.
  • 0: the observed or forecast temperature is neither more/less likely or more/less common due to climate change.
  • -1 to -5: the observed or forecast temperature is becoming less likely and less common due to climate change.

June 24, 2022, Climate Shift Index for High and Low Temperature

Swipe left and right to see the difference between the CSI for high and low temperature for June 24.

On Climate Central’s website, these maps are interactive. You can scroll over each county to see the high or low temperature, the temperature anomaly (how far above or below average the temperature is) and what the daily CSI value is.


June 24, 2022, Climate Shift Index for High and Low Temperature

How to read the June 24 Climate Shift Index for Iowa

In central Iowa the forecast high temperature was about 83°, the anomaly is under 2° warmer than average, and the CSI is 0 which means these conditions are just as likely to occur with or without the influence of climate change.

For most of Iowa, the forecast low temperature was about 66, the anomaly ranges from 3-6° above average. In north central Iowa, the CSI is +1 indicating that temperatures at that level are at least 1.5 times more likely now because of the influence of climate change. Despite similar temperatures in the rest of the state, the CSI remains a 0.

What is it showing in the south?

Low temperature: Along the Gulf Coast, where you notice deep red coloring or a +5 CSI, forecast low temperatures were in the mid-70s. The anomaly, in this case, is between 2-5° above average. Even though that is very similar to the anomaly range Iowa saw today, for the Gulf Coast, these temperatures are 5x more likely indicating a warmer average low that is about 2-5° higher than it was previously for this date.

High temperature: Along the Gulf Coast, many counties have a CSI of +1 to +5. Temperatures are forecast to reach the mid 90s to 101° indicating this is becoming more common in these areas due to climate change.

You can explore other areas and get a 3-Day CSI forecast here.