Climate statistics compiled by our colleagues at Climate Central, using data from the Applied Climate Information System, reveal that the trend of the last springtime freeze across the Summit City has been to occur earlier and earlier in the year.
Back in 1970, the typical last freeze fell during the week of April 24 – May 1. Advancing to our most recent completed spring season record, 2016, the typical last springtime freeze is now occurring during the week of April 17-April 24.
This earlier warmth ends up extending the growing season across the region. Climate Central researchers note some concerns this added warmth could bring to people’s health and the agriculture industry.
“Consistently warmer weather helps pests survive longer, while also stressing crops and potentially decreasing yields. Each crop thrives in a favored temperature range, so net warming can lead to a geographical shift in areas that have been historically productive for a particular crop. Correspondingly, higher overnight temperatures tend to reduce the productivity and quality of grains and fruits, which can drive up the cost of produce at the supermarket.
A longer growing season also means a longer allergy season, as pollen counts rise with the longer season and higher levels of carbon dioxide. And disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes can survive warmer winters and thrive in most locations during the summer.
As the concentration of greenhouse gases rises and the planet warms further, there will continue to be a decrease in the average number nights below freezing. Without any change in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, most of the U.S. is projected to have an extra month or more of nighttime lows above freezing by the end of the century compared to the end of the 20th century.”