The Two Degree Difference: Lake temperatures are expected to continue rising

Two Degree Difference

Temperatures in Lake Champlain have risen more than one degree Fahrenheit over the last ten years, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist, Scott Whittier. He says the agency has been taking measurements in Burlington, VT since 1972.

Whittier explains, the changes in water temps are similar to those in the air, “Air temperatures in the Champlain Basin over the course of the last ten years has been one, one and a half degrees warmer in the summer, and in the fall, and in the winter…”

He also attributes changes in water level to be a factor, “Last year, for example, we were in a drought across the region, and the lake level of Lake Champlain was down. We had abundant sunshine, temperatures that got up into the 90s. So, with the lower lake level, it allowed for the lake actually to reach 79 degrees, even 80 degrees on one particular day.”

The meteorologist says shifts like these are expected to progress, “…as the air temperatures remain well above normal for summer and into the fall… we’ll see those trends with the water as well for years, maybe decades, to come.”

The National Weather Service office in South Burlington makes all of its Lake Champlain temperature graphs, going back to 1972, available online. You can find them by clicking here and scrolling down the page until you reach the section labeled ‘Historical Lake Champlain Yearly Graphs’.

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