A new analysis of federal temperature data by the independent research organization Climate Central shows that U.S. winters are indeed growing warmer across the country, something many people have long suspected, but others have written off as anomalous.
Winter is the fastest warming season for 75% of the 238 U.S. locations for which temperature data was studied. Here in the Northeast, Burlington, VT, experienced more winter warming in the last 50 years than any other city in the U.S., according to the analysis.
Here are some more takeaways from the Climate Central analysis:
- Winter is warming everywhere: Winters have warmed in 97% of 238 U.S. locations since 1970.
- Winter is warming fast: Winter was the fastest warming season for 75% of these locations.
- About 80% of locations now have at least seven more winter days above normal than in 1970.
- In our warming world the coldest days aren’t as cold, and cold snaps are shrinking.
- Warming winters affect public health, water supplies, agriculture, and recreation.
- About 97% (232) of locations surveyed had an increase in average winter temperatures since 1970.
- The average winter warming across the 238 locations from 1970 to 2022 was 3.3°F.
- Average winter temperatures warmed by 2°F or more in about 87% (207) of locations.
- Winter has warmed the most in northern locations across the Great Lakes and Northeast.
- The top-five warming winters since 1970 were experienced by Burlington, VT, (7.1°F), Milwaukee, WI (6.1°F), Chattanooga, TN. (6.1°F), Concord, NH (6.0°F), and Green Bay, WI (5.7°F).
- Concord, NH, saw an increase of 22 more above-normal winter days. Burlington, VT, saw 21 more above-normal days; Portland, ME, saw 19 more, and Boston, MA, saw an increase of 13 more above-normal days.
Climate Central is an independent group of scientists and communicators who research and report the facts about changing climate and how it affects people’s lives. Its website states that it is a policy-neutral 501(c)(3) nonprofit.