Climatologist projects milder temperatures for Minnesota

Staff photo by Gage Cureton Dr. Kenneth Blumenfeld, senior climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, presents about Minnesota’s changing climate at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Southern Region Headquarters Thursday.

NEW ULM — Milder winter temperatures may be what the future holds in store for Minnesota, according to one climatologist.

Dr. Kenneth Blumenfeld, senior climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said warmer winters and wetter summers may become more frequent in Minnesota, during a presentation at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Southern Region Headquarters Thursday afternoon.

Blumenfeld’s presentation, “A Snapshot of Our Changing Climatology,” contained graphs of annual temperature data collected from Minnesota cities throughout the 20th century.

The graphs showed that temperatures followed a normal trend of variation from year to year; however, the graphs also demonstrated a trend of increasing average temperatures from decade to decade.

“It’s really the lowest temperatures that are increasing the fastest,” Blumenfeld said. “Especially winter-time nights with the coldest nights. That’s where we’re seeing the most warming.”

Blumenfeld said this rapid loss of cold extremes in Minnesota may be projected to continue if weather pattern trends match data collected from each decade.

According to data collected in Minnesota since 1970, Blumenfeld said there’s been an average of a 1.2 degree Fahrenheit increase in winter temperatures per decade. The data also showed that average summer temperatures have increased by .09 degrees per decade since 1970. Blumenfeld said the data demonstrates that winter has been warming 13 percent faster than summer.

However, this isn’t necessarily cause for immediate concern, he said. He said that any dramatic change in Minnesota’s climate won’t happen until between 2040 and 2055.

“For the next 20 years it looks like we’re fairing better than other places,” he said. “That’s when we’ll see a difference climatologically.”

Gage Cureton can be emailed at gcureton@nujournal.com.

COMMENTS