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Climate change research shows Columbus’ coldest days are getting warmer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As a pesky polar vortex brings temperatures in the teens and single digits to Central Ohio this week, the coldest time of the year has actually been getting warmer.

New research released Wednesday by climate change research group Climate Central shows that the coldest temperature recorded in Columbus every year has risen more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970.

This is because the Arctic is warming nearly three times faster than the rest of the planet, meaning the Artic air that makes its way here is increasingly warmer.

The lowest temperature recorded in Columbus in 1970 was well into the negatives, but over 50 years it has crept up above zero.

(Graphic via Climate Central)

Climate Central made calculations for 244 American cities — including 10 in Ohio — using data from the Applied Climate Information System maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Ninety-eight percent of cities have had at least a 1°F rise in their yearly coldest temperature since 1970, with the average being an increase of 7°F. Lowest temperatures in 42 cities have risen 10°F or more, including Toledo and Lima.

Increase in the lowest annual temperature in the 10 Ohio cities that Climate Central studied ranged from 3.3°F in Zanesville to 10.7°F in Toledo.

City Increase in lowest annual temperature 1970-2020 (°F)
Toledo +10.7
Lima +10.6
Cleveland +9.9
Canton +9.2
Columbus +9.2
Cincinnati +8.4
Youngstown +8.1
Dayton +7.4
Mansfield +6.9
Zanesville +3.3
Source: Climate Central

“Less extreme cold may sound great to those of us who don’t like the cold,” Climate Central’s release reads, “But the warmer winters we have been experiencing impact other seasons.”

“Shorter winters can make fall last longer and spring start earlier meaning longer allergy seasons and extended seasons for ticks and mosquitoes,” it continues, “And of course, warmer winters threaten ice fishing, skiing, pond hockey and other outdoor recreation.”

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