The Two Degree Difference: Warming spring temperatures

Two Degree Difference

The first day of spring is just a few weeks away, but as we know, sights of spring have their own schedule.

“We have been quite a bit above normal for meteorological winter.” said Matthew Clay, a Meteorologist at National Weather Service Burlington.

According to the National Weather Service, Burlington was 3.4 degrees above normal this winter. Long term temperature trends also show that, on average, our winter and spring seasons are continuing to warm.

An analysis done by Climate Central looking at 243 cities across the U.S. shows, 120 (49%) cities have recorded an increase in average spring temperature of two degrees of more over the past 50 years.

“Extended outlooks for the one month or three-month outlooks do have us in favorable conditions for above average temperatures for the spring.” said Clay.

In Burlington, we have seen almost three degrees of warming in the spring season since 1970. With just over 13 more above average spring days.

Warming spring temperatures follow a pattern of the warmer season encroaching on the cold of winter, resulting in an earlier start of spring, which can in turn throw off the timing of natural events.

For example, earlier snowmelt can result in changes in water availability and challenges to the breeding of native fish. Earlier spring temperatures can also lengthen the growing season, supporting longer pollen allergy seasons.

“There are a lot of variables at play as to how the winters and springs are going to pan out across the U.S. in the future.” said Clay.

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