The Two Degree Difference: Average first freeze coming later

Two Degree Difference

While the cooler weather has finally returned, the past few weeks were very warm especially for mid October.

According to Climate Central our seasons are shifting, with the Summer season growing and the Winter season shrinking.

Summer warmth creeping into our colder seasons is presenting a challenge to native plants and animals, whose life cycles are scheduled around these seasonal changes.

This could impact things such as fall harvests and agriculture. Colder temperatures help to keep many invasive species and pests at bay, so the invasion of summer warmth could favor more pests and crop weeds.

The data shows this shift directly, as our first freeze date in Burlington, Vermont is now coming 12 days later on average compared to 1970.

One notable example in our community is the recent cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Champlain. As of October 14th, blooms were detected from all sections of Lake Champlain except Mallets Bay, Missisquoi bay and the South lake according to the Lake Champlain Committee.

“Cyanobacteria blooms love the warm weather and the predictions for climate change are an increase in temperature over time so that is conductive to allowing them to grow” said Kristine Stepenuck, a professor at University of Vermont.

Climate change has increased water temperatures in the lake by 2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 50 years. This helps to provide an increasing amount of favorable conditions for blooms to develop.

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