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.
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.
The number of wildfire smoke-driven air quality alerts in Minnesota has doubled in the past decade.
Extreme weather swings between flood and drought are happening faster.
Winters are now more than 5 degrees warmer on average since 1970.
Consistent snow cover is less reliable for wintertime activities.
Lake ice duration on inland lakes is declining by as much as two weeks per year.
Extreme flooding mega-rainfall events are becoming more frequent.
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.
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!