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There's no denying it - winters are getting warmer in Memphis

A new report shows the average temperature in the winter months in the Mid-South continues to climb.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new report from Climate Central shows the average winter temperature in Memphis has warmed by three degrees in the last 50 years.

In 1970, the average temperature in the winter months (December-February) in Memphis was 39 degrees. In 2020, the average temperature for the same period was 46 degrees. 

A few degrees may not seem like much, but it continues a trend of warmer temperatures in the last several decades around the globe.

The report also noted that Memphis is seeing more days of above-average temperatures in the winter months.

What does this mean for me?

A difference of three degrees means we may see fewer snow events and more rain. We may also notice more days of unusually warm weather in the Mid-South. 

The real question is, when does the warming stop, and is there a way we can slow it down?

Climate experts remain concerned about the rate at which the planet is warming. Scientists say a warmer climate will lead to more extreme weather, drastic temperature swings, and continued polar ice melt leading to sea level rise.

On a human level, if the planet continues to warm, we will have to deal with changes in growing seasons and locations, longer summer months for bugs to thrive, and effects on sensitive crops.

For instance, hops and barley - which are fundamental in beer production - are very sensitive to temperature changes. Most are farmed in Washington State to avoid hot weather, but even the Pacific Northwest is becoming susceptible to extreme heat waves.

In 2021, temperatures climbed to near 120 degrees in Washington and Oregon in an unprecedented heat wave that killed over 100 people.

If you have questions about climate change and how it will affect us in the Mid-South, email Trevor at tbirchett@abc24.com. You can also reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.

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