SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For many residents in western Massachusetts, it was something to celebrate: temperatures in the 70s during a time of social distancing that allowed many people to get out and enjoy the weather, even in the middle of November.
For meteorologists, this warmth signals something different: climate change. When you look at Springfield’s warming over the decades, the numbers are small.
Our fall has warmed an average of just 2 degrees since 1970, according to Climate Central.
Here’s the downside: a small shift in an average temperature, means a big shift in weather extremes. So while the average temperature change seems minute, it’s leading to more autumns where we have stretches of record-breaking weather like we had recently.
Warm weather in the fall means a longer allergy and pollen season, and a longer tick and mosquito season. It also means paying to run your air conditioners longer, a cost that outpaces the lower heating demand that’s happening with warmer winters.
In New England, it affects a large portion of the winter economy: Mount Snow in Vermont had to delay their opening this year due to the unseasonably warm temperatures preventing them from making snow.