Changing Temperatures

Temperatures are rising. Climate change has already increased average temperatures enough to shift seasons — spring comes earlier and fall frosts arrive later. These shifts in seasons compel some species to migrate farther north or to higher elevations.

Trends indicating more extreme temperatures have been observed in both air temperatures and water temperatures.

According to a recent report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program:

“U.S. average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees F over the past 50 years and is projected to rise more in the future…most areas of the United States have warmed 1 to 2 degrees F compared to the 1960s and 1970s.”


Although temperatures are rising, it is important to recognize that changing temperatures are often reported as averaged trends. Put another way, climate change increases the likeliness that a specific season or year will be warmer than the historic average. Colder-than-average temperatures are still possible in a climate-changing world.

Changes to average temperatures affect almost everything and are a trigger for many other climate change impacts, such as:

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