Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it’s causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country.
Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn’t spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar.
“The cold seasons are warming faster than the warm seasons,” says Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “The colder times of day are warming faster than warmer times of day. And the colder places are warming faster than the warmer places.”
In the U.S., that means winters in both Maine and Alaska are around 5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter on average since the early 1900s. One reason: The snowpack, which is a good reflector of sunlight, is melting earlier in the season. With fewer days of snow cover, sunlight is absorbed into the ground and warms the surrounding area.
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