Warming Minnesota winters: 7 degrees warmer since 1970s

It’s not your imagination. Winters are trending much warmer in Minnesota overall.

A new study by  Climate Central show that winters are significantly warmer in the United States since 1970.

Climate Central

This latest study finds winters are warming faster in Minnesota than any other region of the county. Winters in the Upper Midwest have warmed as much as 7.5 degrees since 1970.

Climate Central

Even as earth’s global climate warms…each winter, each season is different.

That’s called weather.

Case in point? Last winter was the ninth coldest on record and the coldest winter in 35 years in the Twin Cities. It was the sixth coldest winter on record in Minnesota overall.

Twin Cities NWS

But when you observe climate trends over decades a very clear picture of warming emerges. In fact, Minnesota is the fastest warming state in the nation in winter since 1970.

Climate Central

Regional differences are emerging within particular seasons. Early theories of climate warming accurately predicted northern areas would warm more than regions closer to the equator. That has proven to be true.

Here’s a snippet from Climate Central’s latest study on winter trends in the United States:

In the big picture, the U.S. has seen a number of climate shifts in the cold season over the past 40 years or so. Since 1970, the average winter temperature in the continental U.S. has warmed by 2.4°F since 1970. That’s faster than the planet as a whole, which has warmed 1.1°F over that same period, due in large part to rising human greenhouse gas emissions.

Within the country, certain regions have seen heat crank up faster still. The Upper Midwest leads the charge as the fastest-warming region followed by the Northeast. The South and West, by contrast, have warmed relatively slowly. The only notable cold spots are in eastern Nevada and southern Wyoming.

As we head into the teeth of another Minnesota winter it is important to remember that each winter has it’s own personality. But overall winters in Minnesota are warming steadily as each decade goes by.

This is not your grandfather’s “Minnesota Winter” anymore.

  • Someone needs to set up a spreadsheet that compares MSP daily average temperatures. One column would be 1941-1970 climate norms… the other 1981-2010. Curious to see the changes, especially seasonal.

  • mrmitch23

    I’m still warming up from the 12th coldest November on record

  • raymarshall

    How come 6 of the 10 coldest for StP-M were pre 1900, for StCloud non were and for Eau Claire only 1 was. Is there that big a temp variable in such a short distance?

    • David

      Weather records at Minneapolis/St. Paul date to 1871, but only 1893 at the other two sites. All five of the coldest winters predated 1893. They likely would have been colder winters at those locations to, if the had temperature sites there.

  • Schadenfreudian

    As always, change produces winners and losers.