24 votes

Has your local climate gotten noticeably warmer in your lifetime?

I was just thinking, it does seem that where I am summers and winters are hotter than they used to be (I'm in the northern Midwestern US). Actually this winter we had a few days where it got over 60 degrees(!) and I do feel like it snows less than when I was a kid. But I've only been alive for less than 2 decades and I don't think the global temperature has actually risen a lot in that time? So I'm curious, has anyone else personally felt the affects of climate change in their own climate? And if so, since when?

edit: I also remember seeing lots of fireflies when I was younger. Haven't seen one in years.

29 comments

  1. [3]
    skybrian
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    I don't trust my memory on this. I think it might be better to answer it by looking at old weather records for whatever city you're interested in?

    I don't trust my memory on this. I think it might be better to answer it by looking at old weather records for whatever city you're interested in?

    17 votes
    1. [2]
      Turtle
      Link Parent
      Oh yeah me neither, which is part of why I'm asking this. I'm just curious if this is a widespread experience or not. The climate's certainly gotten warmer, but enough to be noticeable within the...

      Oh yeah me neither, which is part of why I'm asking this. I'm just curious if this is a widespread experience or not. The climate's certainly gotten warmer, but enough to be noticeable within the last 2,3,4 etc. decades?

      3 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        I think someone who has a garden and keeps records, and hasn't moved, might have a better idea. Where I grew up, they had snow into May so this year is an outlier.

        I think someone who has a garden and keeps records, and hasn't moved, might have a better idea.

        Where I grew up, they had snow into May so this year is an outlier.

        4 votes
  2. [4]
    asoftbird
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    Netherlands here. Summers got drier, we're actually having water shortages. This year that started around the start of May. "Normally" (pre-2015), summers would maybe hit 30-32°C at most, but in...

    Netherlands here. Summers got drier, we're actually having water shortages. This year that started around the start of May.
    "Normally" (pre-2015), summers would maybe hit 30-32°C at most, but in recent years that's mostly been 35+.
    Highest one was l think 2017 or 2018 where the temps reached 39-40°C at some point. Absolutely unbearable given that our houses are built to keep heat in, instead of leaving it outside.
    And 10-20 years ago we'd regularly get snow in winter. Don't think l've seen any this winter.

    9 votes
    1. vektor
      Link Parent
      Actually, insulation helps both ways. You just have the problem that cooking, electronics and humans create heat that you have to get out. If you can get cooler air in during the night, that helps...

      Absolutely unbearable given that our houses are built to keep heat in, instead of leaving it outside.

      Actually, insulation helps both ways. You just have the problem that cooking, electronics and humans create heat that you have to get out. If you can get cooler air in during the night, that helps a lot. How long that'll last you depends on the building materials used. My parents' house with lots of wood construction - and the insulaiton on the inside of the wall - did not do this very well, there just isn't much material to soak up heat or cold. Modern insulated concrete blocks do this surprisingly well. The insulation is on the outside, so all that concrete is actually your "heat battery".

      That being said, German here. Similar experience. Dryer and hotter summers, I think the risk of forest and brush fires in Germany has markedly increased over the last 10 years. Add to that that winters have been.... weird. My childhood memories tell me it used to be slightly below freezing with a lot of snow for extended periods. Now it's just slightly above freezing with dreadfully cold rain and the occasional few weeks of "Russian wind", i.e. very cold and bone dry, and yes, winds from the east. Meanwhile, we've had occasional instances of tornadoes in Germany. That's not supposed to happen.

      5 votes
    2. [2]
      timo
      Link Parent
      I feel the same. We've had quite a few heatwaves the last few years, with some lasting weeks. It causes a lot of drought. I don't remember it being such a regular thing. Haven't seen snow in quite...

      I feel the same. We've had quite a few heatwaves the last few years, with some lasting weeks. It causes a lot of drought. I don't remember it being such a regular thing. Haven't seen snow in quite some time too. This winter was especially warm. People are now starting to buy air-conditioning for their homes. Nobody had that a few years ago.

      It is quite scary really. We are acting like it's getting a bit warmer but I'm worried of what will come.

      2 votes
      1. asoftbird
        Link Parent
        I think the winter of 2017/18 was pretty snowy though, because that's when l got caught in a snowstorm on the highway, a bit later my car ended up in a ditch. Pretty sure climate change makes...

        I think the winter of 2017/18 was pretty snowy though, because that's when l got caught in a snowstorm on the highway, a bit later my car ended up in a ditch.
        Pretty sure climate change makes weather more intense, correct me if wrong though.

        4 votes
  3. senko
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    Yes (inland Croatia, but mostly Mediterranean climate). Summers aren't noticably hotter - subjectively, they might even be slightly less hot (or I'm just better at hiding beneath ACd rock)....

    Yes (inland Croatia, but mostly Mediterranean climate).

    Summers aren't noticably hotter - subjectively, they might even be slightly less hot (or I'm just better at hiding beneath ACd rock).

    Winters, tho: each winter there's noticably less and less snow. There was virtually none to speak of this winter. Winter temperatures were pretty mild compared to 10ish years ago.

    I also noticed the seasons slightly shifted. Winter was some 2 months "later" than usual, and if I didn't know the date and only looked at the weather, I'd say we're in the middle of the spring right now.

    5 votes
  4. JXM
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    Like @skybrian, I don’t know if my memory on this is as good as I think it is but... I do feel like it has gotten warmer. And the period of time when it’s unbearably humid and hot outside has...

    Like @skybrian, I don’t know if my memory on this is as good as I think it is but...

    I do feel like it has gotten warmer. And the period of time when it’s unbearably humid and hot outside has extended over the past 25 years or so. It’s gone from one or two months of unbearable weather to three or four per year.

    4 votes
  5. drannex
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    Absolutely, we used to get snow every winter, atleast three weeks worth but the last 6 years has been getting less and less to the point where we now only get mild snow that doesn't stick every...

    Absolutely, we used to get snow every winter, atleast three weeks worth but the last 6 years has been getting less and less to the point where we now only get mild snow that doesn't stick every winter (and that is getting less and less often).

    Summer is starting earlier, and we are reaching 100degF days these past few weeks where historically our hottest days were closer to 90. I am not looking forward to August where the temperatures are the hottest, and that we are now getting standard August temperatures in late May/Early June the last two years and have gotten noticeably warmer and earlier every year.

    4 votes
  6. Kremor
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    I live in Mexico City and one the most notorious mountains you can see from here is the Ixtaccíhuatl, and I feel that there's definitely less snow every year. Also, the winters feel colder and the...

    I live in Mexico City and one the most notorious mountains you can see from here is the Ixtaccíhuatl, and I feel that there's definitely less snow every year.

    Also, the winters feel colder and the summers are hotter, contrary to what you may believe Mexico City is (was?) not that hot, but now late spring a summer nights feel unbearable, at least to what I was used to.

    Oh, and also storms are worst than ever.

    4 votes
  7. moonbathers
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    Yes. March and the summer of 2012 were brutal in Wisconsin. Days with a low below -20 used to happen every year and they don't now, most years. There's usually a day or two in February and March...

    Yes. March and the summer of 2012 were brutal in Wisconsin. Days with a low below -20 used to happen every year and they don't now, most years. There's usually a day or two in February and March where the high is 15-20 degrees higher than usual. It makes me sad. There was also some nasty flooding in Madison two years ago like I had never seen before.

    4 votes
  8. Silbern
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    I live in Hawaii, and from a temperature perspective, not really. We live in an insanely stable climate, and while the overall number of hot days has slightly increased, we've mostly remained...

    I live in Hawaii, and from a temperature perspective, not really. We live in an insanely stable climate, and while the overall number of hot days has slightly increased, we've mostly remained totally isolated from the temperature changes global warming, and likely will for the foreseeable future. The balance of an equatorial sun and 2000 miles of seawater is immensely hard to disrupt, and between the most absolute extreme parts of the entire year, we only see about a 40 degree variance (~low 50's F to high 80's F).

    What has really changed for us are the side effects of the extra heat, namely the disruption of precipitation patterns and the rising ocean levels. The dry side of the Hawaiian islands has been particularly affected, with the small sprinkle showers we used to be famous for having become quite rare, and rain on average becoming scarcer each year (even though we still get our occasional torrents). You can also see the rising ocean levels really clearly on our beaches, especially on the north shore; many of the surfing huts that used to be "on the beach", meaning you could see the ocean in the distance, have literally become on the beach, as in, at high tide, the water's only a few feet from the front door. As more ice continues to melt, it's going to be a massive issue for us, since so many people live right around sea level and we're very attached to our beaches and the Pacific ocean in general.

    4 votes
  9. Algernon_Asimov
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    I'm not going to get into specifics. However, I have noticed that winters have generally become milder and summers have generally become hotter than when I was young. There are fewer cold days in...

    I'm not going to get into specifics.

    However, I have noticed that winters have generally become milder and summers have generally become hotter than when I was young. There are fewer cold days in Winter, and more temperate days. We don't have as many cold events, and they're less severe. There are more hot days in Summer, and fewer temperate days. We have more heatwaves and they last for longer.

    Plus... did anyone read about the Australian bushfires this year?!

    (I'm comparing the 1970s & 1980s to the 2010s).

    3 votes
  10. JCPhoenix
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    I live smack dab in the middle of the US in Kansas City, Missouri. While my memory of past seasons isn't great, I feel like summers are as hot and humid as ever. But winters don't seem as...

    I live smack dab in the middle of the US in Kansas City, Missouri.

    While my memory of past seasons isn't great, I feel like summers are as hot and humid as ever. But winters don't seem as consistent. Sometimes they can be downright brutal (relatively speaking ofc); cold and snowy, or even icy. But there have been years in recent memory where winter was relatively mild. Little to no snow, periods of several days where the temperatures in the 50-60s F (10-15 C) or higher. In addition, there have been years where it seemed like we skipped spring altogether. Maybe like 2-3 weeks of spring-like weather, then bam, it's like 80-90F (26-32C).

    That said, this year has felt pretty normal. A cold, snowy/icy winter, followed by a beautiful, rainy spring (no tornadoes in the area AFAIK!), and now the temperatures are ramping up, with lots of summer thunderstorms...that contribute to killer humidity. Sigh.

    3 votes
  11. ohyran
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    Sweden and our climate data is fairly consistent with this. Dry summers and heat spells. Living in what is basically a wet climate and suddenly getting dried up wells (a large chunk of rural areas...

    Sweden and our climate data is fairly consistent with this. Dry summers and heat spells. Living in what is basically a wet climate and suddenly getting dried up wells (a large chunk of rural areas have their own wells) and massive ever longer forest fires is just the personal details.

    The data is clear as day.

    3 votes
  12. SunSpotter
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    Maybe not my lifetime, at least not that I can remember reliably. In terms of just general climate change though things certainly have changed in my dads lifetime. He has lots of stories of really...

    Maybe not my lifetime, at least not that I can remember reliably. In terms of just general climate change though things certainly have changed in my dads lifetime. He has lots of stories of really wet winters that flooded surrounding areas.

    And I've talked to a few people that own vineyards in the area, and they've said that it's becoming consistently warm enough that they're not sure how much longer they can grow certain varietals of wine. They'll have to switch to things purely meant for warm climates to stay in business basically, otherwise they just lose too much product.

    3 votes
  13. vord
    Link
    I'm in my mid-30's now. I've lived almost my entire life in Pennyslvania. I am very much a summer child, and despised the cold, hating the late fall/winter/early spring...unless there was snow....

    I'm in my mid-30's now. I've lived almost my entire life in Pennyslvania. I am very much a summer child, and despised the cold, hating the late fall/winter/early spring...unless there was snow. Blizzard of 96 was the single best time of my childhood. We're talking a full week+ off school immediately after the Christmas break between the storm itself and the aftermath. I could walk to our garage's roof from a drift. Us kids built tunnels under the snow, connecting massive forts built inside snow drifts. Building sophisticated sledding paths with ramps and banked turns. Nothing remotely like it has happened since. Perhaps that's good, as looking back it's probably mostly a horror for adults...having to figure out food, shovel snow off the roof several times to prevent it from crushing under the weight, the tremendous damage being caused. This storm was likely an outlier. But...ever since then, I noticed that snow days became rarer each year...two days in a row became an anomaly and not the norm.

    Fast forward 2 decades, and I rarely need to wear anything more than a light jacket more than a week or two in January. I was so excited for my kid to play in snow (my only love of winter), and so far there's barely been more than a dusting a year since they were born. Hell, this year I felt cold more in March/April than the entirety of Nov->Feb, and spent multiple winter days outside lounging in shorts and hiking in parks.

    The inverse is also true. I loved summer. But now it often gets so hot it's unbearable to be outside, especially in July. As a child, I would frequently spend 12+ hours a day outside (although teen+ years kinda wiped that out given my transition to the digital world). Again, fast forward 2 decades and I find it a struggle to be comfortable outside for more than a few hours.

    I understand that weather != climate and all that. But I've noticed it's definitely getting worse, and am fairly certain it's getting worse faster, although that might just be typical time distortion as we age.

    3 votes
  14. bear-punch
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    I revisited the city I grew up in around December / January. Before I moved, the winters had definitely been softening over time, but always getting below freezing. This last year was incredibly...

    I revisited the city I grew up in around December / January. Before I moved, the winters had definitely been softening over time, but always getting below freezing. This last year was incredibly warm, with the temperature only dipping below freezing overnight. I was really looking forward to snow, but it just wasn't in the cards this year.

    Apparently this year was exceptionally warm, but it does seem to be only an outlier by magnitude rather than trajectory. Its kinda strange to see these changes in actual comprehensible time scales. Maybe I would've noticed it sooner if I hadn't been experiencing this incredible amount of time dilation (for lack of a better term) over the last few years from stress and other social factors.

    3 votes
  15. Sunward
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    I live in South Carolina, within about a 50-60 mile radius of where I grew up. To anchor the references to my youth that are about to follow, I'm in my mid-30s. Compared to my hazy childhood...

    I live in South Carolina, within about a 50-60 mile radius of where I grew up. To anchor the references to my youth that are about to follow, I'm in my mid-30s.

    Compared to my hazy childhood memories, summer is definitely more humid than it used to be, and hotter too. Plus "summer" has gotten longer, with the other seasons shifting and contracting somewhat to accommodate it; summer-like (hot and humid) conditions often start in mid-May now and stretch out into mid-to-late October, whereas I remember us having spring-like conditions from about March to June previously. Fall also starts and ends later (I'd say from about November to January now) and is more mild now, with more days with highs reaching the 70s than I remember from childhood (though they absolutely weren't unheard of then) -- even on Christmas the past few years. Such winter as we now get typically occurs in January and February and maybe the first half of March, with an accelerated spring from then right up until summer starts. I'd say humidity is definitely the hallmark of summer now, even moreso than when I was a kid. Right now it's 85 °F (29 °C) out, but with 68% humidity, it "feels like" 94 °F (34 °C), and the air basically feels like a warm, wet towel wrapped around your face. Even allowing for the climatic variation introduced by the fact that I now live 50-60 miles from where I grew up, I don't remember it ever being that warm and humid.

    We also occasionally (very occasionally) would get what passes for snow this far south in February or March (maybe once every handful of years), but that hasn't happened in the past several years that I can recall, or if it did it wasn't cold enough for there to be any accumulation; the last time I remember there being any noticeable amount of snow, it accompanied an ice storm in 2014.

    3 votes
  16. rogue_cricket
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    As with another commenter I don't really trust my memory on this. But I've recently jumped on the gardening bandwagon and that's a hobby that forces you to pay close attention to the weather,...

    As with another commenter I don't really trust my memory on this. But I've recently jumped on the gardening bandwagon and that's a hobby that forces you to pay close attention to the weather, temperature, and the changing of the seasons. I've seen tons of posts from more senior gardeners griping about how the weather has been "crazy" this year. A very long winter and a very cold spring, followed up by a short heat wave, and at least one surprise frost after June 6th though I don't remember the exact date.

    There's a guy whose hobby seems to be keeping track of "weather records" in Canadian cities, he's got a bot that posts on Reddit. The most recent interesting one for my city was we went 233 consecutive days without ever hitting 20 degree celsius - the longest since 1920. So the long winter and cool Spring is backed by data there.

    While this year was quite cool and we have had a slow ramp-up to warmer weather, the last two years we had extensive springtime flooding which caused lots of road/highway closures. I wish I had the time and energy to really dig into how unlikely two years in a row of that was..

    3 votes
  17. emmanuelle
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    i live in Rio de Janeiro, and while my memory of seasons is not great i feel like nothing much has changed. maybe the summer monsoon is a bit stronger? but otherwise i can’t really say i’ve felt...

    i live in Rio de Janeiro, and while my memory of seasons is not great i feel like nothing much has changed. maybe the summer monsoon is a bit stronger? but otherwise i can’t really say i’ve felt much difference.

    3 votes
  18. emdash
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    Not so much weather per se, but I live on a peninsula with a walking track around it—during strong winds combined with high tides, the waves eat into the track. Over the last 5-10 years, the track...

    Not so much weather per se, but I live on a peninsula with a walking track around it—during strong winds combined with high tides, the waves eat into the track. Over the last 5-10 years, the track has eroded significantly. What was once a raised walking track is now basically flush with the king tide mark on the beach.

    There's no way that's a natural level of erosion. Human-caused climate change is accelerating sea level rise and intensifying storms, which massively accelerates coastal erosion. Here's a good article with some "before and after" satellite pictures documenting erosion around New Zealand.

    2 votes
  19. spctrvl
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    I definitely feel like it has. We used to get light snow about every year where I'm at, but the last few winters it's scarcely gotten below freezing. I think last winter only had one or two weeks...

    I definitely feel like it has. We used to get light snow about every year where I'm at, but the last few winters it's scarcely gotten below freezing. I think last winter only had one or two weeks worth of temperatures under freezing, and it wasn't by much. Which is consistent with a rise in temperatures in the low single digits.

    2 votes
  20. sron
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    England. Over the past few years it seems like prolonged dry weather is getting more common. Some places here didn't record any rain at all during May. This page is quite good for looking at our...

    England. Over the past few years it seems like prolonged dry weather is getting more common. Some places here didn't record any rain at all during May.

    This page is quite good for looking at our climate data here on a map. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-actual-and-anomaly-maps

    Edit: and it definitely snows less now. Didn't have any at all last winter.

    2 votes
  21. vegai
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    Not really at all in the last almost 40 years.

    Not really at all in the last almost 40 years.

    2 votes
  22. lakhs_24
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    Where I live, winters have gotten warmer and warmer since I was little. It used to be that over the course of the winter there would always be snow covering the ground, but over the last 5-7 years...

    Where I live, winters have gotten warmer and warmer since I was little. It used to be that over the course of the winter there would always be snow covering the ground, but over the last 5-7 years we seem to get some snowfall and then temperatures go above freezing and everything melts, and then eventually we get more snow, and again it melts. I regularly commute by car, and this past winter there was only one time where I had to drive through heavy snow.

    2 votes
  23. box0rox
    Link
    Absolutely. I grew up in southern New England, and although I have not been here my entire life, I live here now. It's most obvious in the winter. We used to have a couple of months of reliably...

    Absolutely. I grew up in southern New England, and although I have not been here my entire life, I live here now. It's most obvious in the winter. We used to have a couple of months of reliably frozen temperatures, enough for winter sports, outdoor skating and skiing. The local ski areas are gone, or converted to other uses, and most bodies of water usually don't freeze enough to skate on.
    BTW, if you miss fireflies, you should come visit, we still have plenty. I love them too.

    2 votes