MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) It's well known that March has been on the wetter side of things. One thing that might not be as well known is that temperatures are also running above normal. If this wet and warm pattern continues, we can expect to see things spring to life and green up over the next couple of weeks.
This warmer start to spring may become more of the norm. Our partners at Climate Central analyzed temperatures since 1970 and found that Madison is averaging eight more days with above normal temperatures. This comes to an average increase of temperature of 1.7 degrees.
Analyzing average spring temperatures since 1970 across the country, the top increases occurred in the Southwest—where spring is the fastest warming season. Reno, Nev. topped the list with an increase of 7.2°F, followed by Las Vegas, Nev. (6.4°F), El Paso, Texas (5.8°F), and Tucson (5.8°F). In general, 81% (197) of the 242 cities analyzed warmed by at least 1°F over the past fifty years. The Southwest also saw the greatest jump in the number of spring days above normal, with 79% (191 of 242) of cities recording an increase of 5 or more days.
In a changing climate, the cultural hallmarks of our favorite seasons are being altered. Working to address climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions is one important way that we can turn over a new leaf and protect our natural world in the coming decades.
METHODOLOGY: Analyses used 1970-2019 data from the Applied Climate Information System. The number of spring days above normal was calculated using the 1981-2010 NOAA/NCEI normals.
Displayed trend lines are based on a mathematical linear regression. Climate Central's local analyses include 244 stations. However, for data summaries based on linear trends, only 242 stations are included due to large data gaps in St. Johnsbury, Vt. and Wheeling, W. Va.