Support Our Work

Groundhog Day Warming Trends

By Climate Central

Punxsutawney Phil, perhaps the best known of the groundhogs, has been making his prediction since 1887. When Phil does not see his shadow, legend has it that an early spring is on the way. But in over a hundred years, that has only happened 16 times! And whether or not he sees it, spring is coming earlier across the country as the planet warms from the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For each market this week, we analyzed the average temperature for that six-week period that follows Groundhog Day.

Of the 16 times Phil has failed to see his shadow, 12 have been since 1970. According to a 2012 Climate Central report, the country has warmed 3 times faster since 1970 than over the last century as a whole. And according the 2014 National Climate Assessment, while the U.S. average temperature has increased about 1.5°F since record keeping began in 1895, most of this increase has occurred since about 1970.