Climate Matters




Story Highlights

  • All four seasons across the country are warming due to climate change.

  • Each season of warming has its own effects on the economy and the environment.

  • Climate change may promote the spread of the Zika virus, as warmer conditions are more favorable for mosquitoes to thrive.

ALL FOUR SEASONS

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The U.S. has been warming during all four seasons due to climate change. In a previous release we highlighted which seasons have warmed the fastest. This week, we examine where the warming is the greatest during each season.

In general, cool locations heat up more easily than warm locations. Not surprisingly, winter is the season in which all climate divisions in the U.S. have shown significant warming, with the greatest warming in the Upper Great Lakes. Spring and summer have similar warming patterns, although the extent of U.S. warming is greater in spring versus summer. Meanwhile, the fall warming pattern is strong in all areas of the country, except for the Southeast.

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We created an interactive for you to share with your audience (see above). Here, we calculated the rate of warming for each NOAA NCEI climate division since 1970 so that you can explore how the seasons have warmed in more detail for your area.

Warming during each season has differing impacts. The warmer winter stresses reservoirs that depend on melting snowpack later in the calendar year. Spring and fall warming is lengthening the growing season. While that may sound good initially, this disrupts the timing between established plant and animal behaviors, leaving food crops without necessary pollinators. Plus, it can support an extended ragweed and allergy season and lead to more aggressive poison ivy. Hotter summers also mean more heat related illness, like heat exhaustion, and of course higher cooling bills.

ZIKA VIRUS

The Zika virus, which is transmitted primarily by mosquitoes, is dramatically expanding across Latin America. Climate change may help the disease spread by creating conditions more favorable for mosquitoes to thrive.

  • Heavy rain and high temperatures help breed mosquitoes. However, the disease can also spread during dry conditions because of water storage practices in certain areas, particularly northeast Brazil where this outbreak started.

  • A Climate Central article on Zika and climate change.

  • A Climate Matters analysis from this past summer looking at how the number of favorable mosquito days is changing in each Climate Matters market. You can review that here >>

WXshift.com

The U.S. is getting hotter, with an average temperature up by more than 1°F since 1970.

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Supporting Multimedia from the Archive

Which Seasons Are Warming Fastest

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Longer Growing Season

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More CO2 = More Aggressive Poison Ivy

grab from the archive >>

Brought to you by Climate Central