Warmer trends being felt during cooler months

As of late, we have been experiencing a trend over the last several years that has created a feeling that is not quite “sweater weather,” even in late October.

Julian Seawright

Oct 26, 2023, 1:57 AM

Updated 266 days ago

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Fall in the northeast has been typically highlighted as a time for beautiful fall foliage, pumpkin spice, warm sweaters and cooler temperatures. However, as of late, we have been experiencing a trend over the last several years that has created a feeling that is not quite “sweater weather,” even in late October.
By the end of this workweek, and heading into the weekend, temperatures across the tri-state are being forecast way above average for this time of October. Some areas may even set new records.
What does this mean? There is constant talk about climate change and one thing we would like to direct attention to is the trends scientists and meteorologists have been watching over the last several years.
According to Climate Central, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric) climate normals are updated every 10 years, with 30-year averages of climatological variables. In other words, this will give us a basis for comparing the current weather against what is viewed as normal.
Data shows from 1991-2020, temperatures have been increasing across the board in the Northeast between 0.5 to 1 degree. This upward trend could result in extreme weather events becoming more common, a prolonged wildfire season, and have a direct impact on energy producing means across the nation. For example, heating homes less in the Winter, but using more energy to cool homes during the summer. In addition, this will have impacts on growing seasons and zones, keep allergy season around longer and disease-carrying insects active.
According to Climate Central, a map shared by NOAA showing the fastest warming season displays the Northeast is seeing a warming season during the winter months.
Businesses in the northeast, like ski resorts & outdoor ice rinks, rely on a lot of snow and cold during the Winter season, for their economic livelihood. As temperature trends turn warmer, resorts can see less natural snow and areas used for ice fishing could see thinner or less ice for the season. With the shift into a warmer Winter, this could have potential wide scale impacts on local economies, especially in rural areas.
It is not just the wintertime that is impacted either. With the increase in temperatures across the United States, an early season buildup of warmth could have spring arriving early for many areas. And for the summer season, heat waves could be more numerous and last longer, severe storms could be more destructive with a warmer atmosphere providing more moisture and instability, which could impact energy providers with the increased demand for cooling and difficulty sending energy to areas hit by severe storms.
Climate conversation is a touchy subject. But we must show the data and talk about the trends we are seeing over time. In October, daytime high temperatures are typically in the upper 50s to low 60s across the Tri-state. However, we are finding a few stretches of days with temperatures several degrees or more above seasonable levels for this time of year. A warmer fall season could result in impacts not only locally but across the tri-state in the years to come.


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