(p. A11) Winters in the United States have gotten warmer in the past 30 years, and some of the coldest parts of the country have warmed up the most.
In Minnesota, winters between 1989 and 2018 were an average of 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, compared to a 20th century baseline, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyzed by The New York Times. Florida’s winters were 1.4 degrees warmer, on average, during that time.
For each 30-year period above, the maps show how much warmer or cooler winters were across the contiguous United States, compared to an average winter for that location during the 20th century. Though it might not always feel like it, warmer winters have become more common across most of the country. The most significant temperature increases can be seen in the Northern Great Plains, a region stretching from Montana to Michigan.
The Northern Great Plains have warmed up particularly quickly in part because of the dry winter conditions typical there, said Kenneth Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist at the Minnesota State Climate Office. Cold air moving into the area from Canada and the Arctic is also not as cold as it used to be, he said.
“In Minnesota, we used to get to negative 30 or negative 40 degrees with certain frequency. But no longer. Maybe we’ll now hit negative 30 with the frequency we used to hit negative 40,” Dr. Blumenfeld said. But, he added, this difference in cold extremes can be difficult for people to perceive. When it’s that cold out, after all, people tend to stay inside.
The pattern of warming shown here is largely consistent with global trends, said Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA’s climate monitoring branch. “In general, northern latitudes are warming faster than southern latitudes. Interior locations are warming faster than coastal locations.”
For the full story, see:
NADJA POPOVICH and BLACKI MIGLIOZZI. “Where Are America’s Winters Warming the Most? In Cold Places.” The New York Times (Saturday, MARCH 17, 2018): A11.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date MARCH 16, 2018.)