AUSTIN (KXAN) — We are in the heart of winter here in Central Texas with plenty of time ahead for more freezing cold temperatures. So far this winter we have experienced 7 freezes here in Austin. In an average year we experience 12.
Our partners at Climate Central found that over the course of 50 decades, 204 cities across the country, including Austin, are seeing a decrease in the annual number of freezing cold nights. 88% of the cities they analyzed saw this change.
Countrywide average: 13 fewer nights below freezing
Austin, TX: 11 fewer nights below freezing
Simply put, Climate Central found that the vast majority of cities across the nation are warming and it’s becoming increasingly more noticeable when looking at the data for nighttime temperatures. They found that the morning low temperatures are warming 25% faster compared to afternoon highs, and the winter season as a whole was discovered to be the fastest-warming season of them all.
Leading cities with biggest drop in number of freezing cold nights
-Reno, Nevada (91 fewer freezing nights)
-Albuquerque, New Mexico (45 fewer freezing nights)
-Bend, Oregon (41 fewer freezing nights)
What the future holds
-If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the same ‘business as usual’ rate, then these trends are expected to continue. Projections show that in just a few decades, nearly half of the states in the U.S. will see at least three fewer weeks of freezing days.
-Warming temperatures during the coldest time of the year is bad news for ski resorts. Disrupted snowfall patterns means shorter ski seasons. This in return creates a major economical decline for ski towns and the businesses that rely on the tourism.
-Warmer nights overall means less snowpack stored on mountains. Decreased snowpack means less water supply for the communities and agriculture that rely on it.
-Studies show that a shortening cold season can lengthen various allergy seasons and increase the amount of pollen.
-More disease-carrying pests like mosquitoes can be expected and for a longer duration of time.
-With less fruit production, prepare for the possibility of paying more for your favorite fruits when harvest season begins.