What Monday's IPCC report means for Minnesota

Expect our extreme weather whiplash swings to accelerate

A dirty smoke plume above the Weather Lab Thursday afternoon
A dirty widlfire smoke plume obscures the sun above the Weather Lab in July.
Paul Huttner | MPR News file

This week’s latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirms that climate change is already driving accelerating weather and climate extremes. It seems like we’re witnessing climate change impacts play out in the news every week now.

Code red is now happening on our daily news feeds.

Unprecedented wildfires destroy another town in California. Another extreme flash flood event sweeps into places that have never seen flooding. Intense heat and dryness quickly turn to flash drought.

And extreme climate change impacts hit closer to home every year. Here in Minnesota, we’re already observing and recording accelerating climate shifts and weather extremes.

Winter warming trend in the Twin Cities since 1970
Winter warming trend in the Twin Cities since 1970
NOAA data via Climate Central

In short, all indications from the IPCC report and currently observed trends strongly suggest Minnesota’s weather whiplash is likely to accelerate in the next decade.

That means more wildfire smoke, drought, heavy rainfall, “out of season” snowfall and other weather events will likely happen. It means most (but not all) winters will continue to trend warmer. And it means Minnesota’s prized lakes and rivers will continue to see more rapid water level fluctuations.

Climate change is already amplifying Minnesota’s hydrologic cycle and changing our weather patterns. That trend will quicken in the coming decade and beyond.

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