Mar 10, 2023 - News

Detroit's winters are warming up

Average winter temperatures in Detroit
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Friday's snowstorm notwithstanding, this winter has been historically mild.

  • The 2022-23 winter has been Detroit's seventh-warmest on record, with average temperatures from December-February of 33°F — 11° warmer than those in 1970.
  • That's according to a new analysis of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration numbers from Climate Central, a nonpartisan research and communications group.

Why it matters: Warm winters can exacerbate drought, wreak havoc on crops and gardens and spell disaster for towns built around snowy pursuits.

Zoom out: Winter is the fastest-warming season for much of the continental U.S.

  • About 80% of the country now has at least seven more winter days with above-normal temperatures compared to 1970, per Climate Central.
  • Seasonal snowfall is declining in many cities — though heavy snowstorms can still happen when temperatures are cold enough.

Driving the news: Not only are winters warming overall, but cold snaps are becoming less severe and shorter in duration, the latest research shows.

  • That's partly because the Arctic is warming at three to four times the rate of the rest of the world.
  • In other words, our global refrigerator is warming up, making it harder to get record-breaking cold for days on end.

🖼️ The big picture: Michigan could become a "climate haven" for newcomers looking to escape extreme weather near the coasts, MLive reports.

  • Experts predict the Great Lakes region will avoid the worst outcomes of climate change, potentially making it an attractive locale for decades to come.

The bottom line: Over the coming years, most of us can expect to feel climate change's effects most acutely during the winter months.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Detroit stories

No stories could be found

Detroitpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Detroit.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more