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Warming Decembers and Winters

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 8:39 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - The idea of less cold during the winter sounds great to many people. However, climate change is negatively impacting our winters and making them warm much faster compared to the other seasons.

Every 10 years, the NOAA updates their climatological averages which span the previous three decades. These averages were updated early in 2021 to include data from 1991-2020. This replaced the old averages from 1981-2010.

Given how warm the last two decades have been, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we saw an increase in our average seasonal temperatures.

Looking at global observations and seeing how the arctic is warming much faster than equatorial regions (as much as 3x warmer), it also shouldn’t be a surprise that winters are warming the fastest.

Winters are warming much faster than the other seasons.
Winters are warming much faster than the other seasons.(Climate Central)

According to Climate Central, winters are the fastest warming season in 38 states.

Their research of almost 250 locations across the United States shows that nearly all of them (98%) have warmer winters now compared to 1970.

84% of these warmed by 2° or more. Peoria is included in that list with a temperature difference of over 5° compared to 1970.

Winters are much warmer in Peoria compared to 50 years ago.
Winters are much warmer in Peoria compared to 50 years ago.(Climate Central)
We're seeing 15 more days with above average temperatures compared to 50 years ago.
We're seeing 15 more days with above average temperatures compared to 50 years ago.(Climate Central)

Seven out of the last 10 winters in Peoria have been warmer than average, and this year looks no different.

The Climate Prediction Center’s December outlook shows the possibility for warmer than average temperatures for most of the United States.

December was forecast to be a warm month for most of the United States.
December was forecast to be a warm month for most of the United States.(Climate Prediction Center)

One week into December and we’ve seen temperatures 5.5° above average. Next week will be even warmer as highs could soar into the 60s. This will likely help add this December to the list of warm ones.

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