Minnesota’s winters were 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer on average between 1989 and 2018, compared with the average for the entire 20th century, according to NOAA data analyzed by The New York Times.
That’s partially a result of the dry conditions that typify the state’s winters, but the cold Arctic air that moves down to the region from Canada is also getting warmer, said Kenneth Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist at the Minnesota State Climate Office.
“In Minnesota, we used to get to negative 30 or negative 40 degrees with certain frequency. But no longer,” Blumenfeld said. “Maybe we’ll now hit negative 30 with the frequency we used to hit negative 40.”
At the same time, the average person might not notice the change, Blumenfeld said.
Weather patterns affect different regions in different ways, and people tend to stay inside when it’s minus 40 F.
The same pattern that causes an unusually warm winter on the West Coast and in Europe can contribute to a frigid winter on the East Coast. And parts of the Southeast have seen colder-than-average winters over the past 30 years, a phenomenon scientists have labeled the “warming hole.”
But broadly, the United States is getting warmer in the winter, and the trends are much the same as those scientists have observed in the rest of the world.
“In general, northern latitudes are warming faster than southern latitudes,” said Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA’s climate monitoring branch. “Interior locations are warming faster than coastal locations” (Popovich/Migliozzi, New York Times, March 16). — NS