For the past several years, people have been asking themselves this: are our winters here in Concord really becoming more mild? Temperatures have risen overall and started having more, longer spikes in the middle of winter. Snow falls have also lessened over the past five years. While the cold is still intense, the combination of these two factors certainly makes winters feel more mild.
Since 2015, the average temperature in January east of Boston has risen by three degrees Farenheit, from 30 degrees five years ago to thirty-three degrees last year. While this is a small increase, it is still a change. The temperatures are clearly rising, making winters less intense. The range of temperatures in the Massachusetts winter have significantly broadened, as well. Until recently, temperatures mostly fell between 15 and 35 degrees. Recent years have seen temperatures occasionally skyrocket, reaching and even surpassing 50 degrees. So while the average temperature’s increase has been slow yet steady, the unpredictable spikes in temperature have been more obvious
Less snowfall in recent years has also caused winter to become more subdued. In previous years, several feet of snow has been expected each winter. However, in recent years, Concord has only gotten about a foot of snow. Occasionally, receiving no more than a couple of inches. Less snow leads to less shoveling and fewer snow days, both hallmarks of winter.
The combination of these two factors might offer the answer to the question of if winters are more mild now. While the cold is still biting and there certainly is still snow to enjoy and deal with, both of these are less intense. Global warming has certainly affected our winters in Massachusetts, to the point where lots of snow is no longer expected, while fifty degree days are. There is no telling what could happen to the Northeast’s signature cold weather if our climate continues to warm.
However, some things can be expected in the future. Based on previous years, we can expect at least another three-degree increase in the next ten years. But because global warming is exponentially increasing, many scientists predict that the increase will range from five to seven degrees. Furthermore, the amount of snowfall we receive will continue to decrease. But there is still hope that our New England winters will become close to what they once were, or at least not become any more mild. Around the world, people are fighting to implement measures to slow global warming. Many of these would keep the winters colder and stop the unpredictable temperature swings that we experience. While it certainly is up in the air, if we manage to stop global warming, then the famed New England winters will not become any warmer.