Minnesota Winter: it's here...

You may have seen some snow on the ground, but who cares, the temps are historically out-of this-world making winter sports more than uncomfortable. Frostbite anyone? The winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. (Less daylight.) Another common misconception is that the earth is farthest from the sun in winter. The Earth is actually closest to the sun in December...not farther away. Temperatures the end of December 2017 and January 2018 are historically low, frigid, below zero low.

In 2018, winter began on December 21, 5:23 P.M. EST. You can track when the change in seasons occur by recording animal behaviors and by the way that the plants grow. A study done by Climate Central showed that Minnesota winters are warming, 7 degrees warmer since the 1970s. In fact, the upper mid-west is warming faster than any other region. Yet, winter in 2018 appears to have busted that study. CBS Minnesota predicted colder and wetter winter in 2018.

Be careful not to conflate the warming of the earth’s global climate with the seasonal changes we experience, like our President does; there is a difference. Seasonal changes are called weather. MPR demonstrates in a cool graph that though the earth is warming, last year the state's temperatures were the coldest on record, going back 35 years. 

 

That's called weather. MPR makes a great analogy that helps to explain the difference between weather and climate change. Weather has it's own personality; it's changeble.

 

 

 

However, when you observe climate trends over a long period of time that's when a warming trend becomes apparent.

Climate changes are the result of greenhouse gases that increase ambient temperatures which results in increased precipitation and changes in humidity. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, atmospheric changes in "GHG emissions, temperature, precipitation, and humidity are directly or indirectly causing disruptions in four key aspects of the human environment—air, weather, water, and ecosystems. Changes in these areas are in turn leading to situations that threaten the health and vitality of human communities through increased air pollution, extreme heat events, floods, droughts and ecosystem threats."

When we see Minnesota's habitat, flora and fauna disappear, like moose and lake trout; Maple trees migrating north and bugs surviving in winter that destroy thousands of acres of forest, this is the cumulative effect that's not a weather impact.