Climate MattersMarch 2, 2022

2022 Spring Package

2022 Spring Package

KEY CONCEPTS

  • Spring is in the air! Our spring package looks at local and national trends in average spring temperatures and spring days above normal since 1970.

  • The spring season is not only warming, but shifting. As spring arrives earlier and cuts into our winter months, we see mismatch timing in nature and longer pest and allergy seasons.

National Map (Average Temperatures) - 2022 Spring Package
National Map (Average Temperatures)
Spring Days Above Normal - 2022 Spring Package
Spring Days Above Normal
Average Spring Temperatures - 2022 Spring Package
Average Spring Temperatures

Yesterday marked the first day of meteorological spring (March 1st)! Following our annual tradition, we’ve updated our spring package with your favorite seasonal trends from 1970-2021:

  • Average Spring Temperatures (local trend),

  • Change in average spring temperatures (national map), and

  • Spring Days Above Normal since 1970 (local trends)

Spring, like all seasons, is getting warmer due to climate change. And long-term trends across the U.S. echo that climate signal. Climate Central analyzed 52 (1970-2021) years of spring temperature data in 242 U.S. locations and found that:

  • Average temperatures are rising: About 97% (234) locations had an increase in their average spring temperatures since 1970, with 49% (115 of 234) of those locations warming by 2°F or more. 

  • Spring warming is greatest in the Southwest. The three greatest increases are seen in Reno, Nev. (6.8°F), Las Vegas (6.2°F), and El Paso, Texas (5.9°F). 

  • More spring days above normal: Since 1970, about 69% (166) of the locations had at least 7 more days above their 1991-2020 spring normal temperature.

Spring is not only warming, but also shifting. Spring is arriving earlier because of warmer conditions—cutting into the cold winter months. This shift can cause:

  • Longer pest and allergy seasons: An early spring, and an early last freeze can lengthen our growing season. That means that related nuisances like mosquitoes and pollen can appear earlier in the year, and stick around for longer.

  • Mismatch timing in nature: Spring warming can also disrupt the timing of ecologically-important events. For example, some migratory bird species are not keeping pace with the earlier arrival of spring—potentially impacting their food availability and breeding success. The consequences of mismatch timing are an active area of study.

POTENTIAL LOCAL STORY ANGLES

When is spring blooming near you? 
Check out the “springcasting” tools at USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), an organization of citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups and others, who monitor seasonal changes in the natural world. USA-NPN tracks the onset of spring across the country and has historical, real-time, and forecasted phenology maps. These are important tools for forecasting invasive species and pests, allergy outbreaks, and informing agricultural calendars. 

LOCAL EXPERTS 

The SciLine service, 500 Women Scientists or the press offices of local universities may be able to connect you with local scientists who have expertise on the warming spring season. The American Association of State Climatologists is a professional scientific organization composed of all state climatologists

NATIONAL EXPERTS 

  • Theresa M. Crimmins, PhD
    Director, USA National Phenology Network and Nature's Notebook, National Coordinating Office, University of Arizona 
    Email: theresa@usanpn.org 
    Phone: (520) 621-8523 

  • For expertise on lung health, allergies, and the allergy season:
    American Lung Assosication
    List of Media Experts
    Contact: Media@Lung.org or (312) 801-7628

  • Alyssa Rosemartin, Partner and Application Specialist
    USA National Phenology Network
    School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona
    Contact: alyssa@usanpn.org
    *Available for interviews in Spanish

METHODOLOGY

Analyses used 1970-2021 data from the Applied Climate Information System. The number of spring days above normal was calculated using the 1991-2020 NOAA/NCEI normals.

Displayed trend lines are based on a mathematical linear regression. Climate Central's local analyses include 247 stations. However, for data summaries based on linear trends, only 242 stations are included due to large data gaps in Wheeling, W. Va., Dothan, Ala., Hazard, Ky., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Twin Falls, Idaho.