Feb 18, 2022 - News

Minnesota winters will warm 11 degrees by 2100, study says

Animated illustration of the Earth at the bottom of a thermometer with the ocean liquid rising up and filling the thermometer.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new study by University of Minnesota researchers predicts that Minnesota's winter temperatures will increase by about 11 degrees Fahrenheit between now and 2100.

  • Summers will rise by 7 degrees, according to the study, published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth and Space Science.

Why it matters: Warmer winter temperatures would greatly impact agriculture, the environment, recreation and tourism, said lead author Stefan Liess.

  • A loss of deep freezes would allow crop- and tree-killing insects to survive.

Plus: The study projected a loss of 55 days a year of snow cover in central Minnesota, which would deal a blow to winter tourism and recreation.

  • Without that snow cover, temperatures would rise faster because snow reflects the sun.

How it works: Researchers used eight recent global climate model projections to calculate climate data over about 13,000 10km-by-10km areas in Minnesota.

The bottom line: Picture an average January day now, when daytime highs are in the low 20s.

  • In 80 years, the average January highs would be in the low 30s and we'd loose snow cover even in the coldest part of the year.
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