changing temperatures

winter temperature graph

Remember how deep the snow used to be in the winter? Often way up over my head. Snow forts, giant icicles, snow angels…. Giant snow drifts reached up to our garage roof making us a big white snow slide. Of course we were all younger and smaller then ……

But recently I don’t remember much snow. Only a few days here and there with good sledding or solid ice on the pond. My son had NO snow days last year.

This graph published in the Boston Globe yesterday shows winter temperatures for New England over the last 40 years. The authors conclude that temperatures are rising 0.8 degrees (0.42° to 0.46°C) per decade here. And the number of days with snow on the ground is decreasing 3.6 days per decade.

Hmmm. It makes one wonder what the next few years will bring….

But then again, the comments on this front page Boston Globe article are pretty extensive and scathing. Namely, how can a solid conclusion be made from 40 years of data? They do call it a trend – I wonder how statistically significant the increase is?

And numbers in Globe article seem mixed up. They corrected the 0.8 (an error with C to F conversion). But the paper reports regional average reduction in snow-covered days as −8.9 d/decade, and Globe says its 3.6 days….

Globe Article, erratum
Burakowski et al., J Geophysical Research Atmospheres, Oct 2008

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Well, last year in Wisconsin, we got almost 100 inches of snow. This year, with a foot and a half, we are well on our way to meeting or beating that again.

  • Last year was snowy here too. I think we had 57 inches.

  • That chart looks like it fallows the stock market.

    My area also seems to have been lacking snow the last few years. Last year was the exception with southern ontario being hammered with accumulation higher then Susie’s level.

    I am very skeptical about this whole global warming thing. Like you said what does 40 years of data really tell you. Even if there is warming who is to say it is human influenced. The major polluting centers are very small in comparison to the earths surface.

  • Forty years ago scientists thought we were headed for another Ice Age, temperatures were so low. So it doesn’t really surprise me that winters have warmed since then. The last two years have been colder than normal, so what really interests me is seeing where the next ten years go. Are they going to keep going down, or will they start heading up again? Curious minds want to know!

  • 2007 to 2008 was the second snowiest winter in weather records in Spokane, with about 92.5 inches of snow (normal year is about 45 inches). We just broke our all time one day snow fall record a week ago, and two days ago we broke the most snowfall in December record. If you want more snow, you are welcome to come shovel snow for me! We have been spending 3 to 5 hours, most every day, shoveling snow. The berms along the driveway are now six feet high on both sides. We are exhausted. Travel for the past two weeks is nearly exclusively by high profile 4×4 vehicles, especially for those of us who don’t get frequent plowing – at 12 to 25 inches on the road, travel is difficult.


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