Sunday, December 30, 2012

You're Getting Warmer

Minnesota will tie the all-time high average temperature this year, at 50.8°F. Today's Star Tribune included this excellent graph of our average temperatures since 1873, when record-keeping began:

(Click to enlarge.) As the lead-in to the graph says,

The current average annual temperature for the Twin Cities is 45.1 degrees. All but one of the past 15 years have been warmer than that. The year 2012 will be one of only two in 140 years of record-keeping with an annual average temperature above 50 degrees.
The gray shaded area on the right end of the graph represents the last 15 years, and at a glance you can tell that those bars are almost all higher than the vast number of others shown.

I did a close guesstimate on the average temperature over the past 15 years, based on those bars, and came up with 47.5°, compared to the almost 140-year average of 45.1° (which includes those last, warmer 15 years, of course).

In case you were wondering, 1987 (the third highest year on record) was what I used to call the year without winter. It was my first in Minnesota, and it never got very cold. Winter ended in February and the flowering trees bloomed just before the end of April, compared to their usually bloom-time in mid-to-late May. At the time, I joked that I had brought Washington, D.C.'s winter with me, but the next year, winter returned to Minnesota normal.

In 2012, the flowering trees bloomed in mid-April, for the most part. There were magnolias even before that. Anyone who denies the planet is warming should talk to a gardener.

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