ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Climate change is not equal. It does not warm locations the same, rise sea levels the same, and spread wildfires the same. Our region has seen variably different impacts from climate change and that includes warming the seasons differently, warming locations differently, and bringing varying increases in drought as well as heavy rains.
Looking at data from one station over a long period of time can tell a story, but when we are talking about seasonal changes in climate, it is best to look at a wide area. Most cities in the Northeast and the Great Lakes have seen a warming in spring temperatures. According to a study done by Climate Central across the United States, “96% of cities (234) reported an increase in the number of above-normal spring days since 1970, with 81% of cities (196) reporting an increase of 5 days or more.”
This is the same for Rochester as temperatures have warmed just over a degree through spring (defined as) March/April/May. Find data here.
This trend is more pronounced in other areas and is expected to continue. This will start to change how snow melt impacts the growing season, pollen increasing earlier and lasting longer, pests emerging sooner, and potentially risking crop loss from a late freeze after bud break.
Other signs of a warming climate locally come in the form of warming lake waters, increased summertime precipitation, and more extremes. Some other signs become more muddled, like the potential for an increase in lake-effect snow.