The Two Degree Difference: Frost comes later than average


(WFFF) — While the cooler weather has finally returned, the past few weeks were very warm, especially for mid-October. According to Climate Central, our seasons are shifting, with the summer season growing and the Winter season shrinking.

Summer warmth creeping into our colder seasons is presenting a challenge to native plants and animals, whose life cycles are scheduled around these seasonal changes. This could impact things such as fall harvests and agriculture. Colder temperatures help to keep many invasive species and pests at bay, so the invasion of summer warmth could favor more pests and crop weeds.

The data shows this shift directly, as our first freeze date in Burlington, Vermont is now coming 12 days later, on average, compared to 1970. Notable local examples include extensive cyanobacteria blooms in Lake George and Lake Champlain.

“Cyanobacteria blooms love the warm weather and the predictions for climate change are an increase in temperature over time so that is conducive to allowing them to grow,” said Kristine Stepenuck, a professor at the University of Vermont.

Climate change has increased water temperatures in Lake Champlain by 2 to 7 degrees over the past 50 years. This helps to provide an increasing amount of favorable conditions for blooms to develop.

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