Burlington winter temperatures rise 7 degrees

Winters in Burlington have warmed more over the past four decades than in any major US city, according to data compiled by a Washington, D.C.-based science organization.
Average winter temperatures in the Queen City rose seven degrees Fahrenheit since 1970 — from 18 degrees to 25 degrees, a group called Climate Central reported last week.
Climate Central culled these figures from measurements taken by two federal agencies on instruments located in the 244 Nielsen media markets across the country, said Climate Central meteorologist Sean Sublette.
The cause of the temperature increase is not a mystery, Sublette said.
The consistent temperature increases across hundreds of major US cities merely illustrate the phenomenon of a well-documented global temperature increase, he said. Humans are causing the temperature increase by polluting the atmosphere with excess carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, he said.
“A lot of people don’t like that, and I can understand that, but that’s where it’s from,” he said.
The Climate Central research does show a nuance that is less well-known, Sublette said: colder areas are experiencing a greater temperature increase resulting from global warming than areas that are already relatively warm. The same amount of thermal energy will warm a relatively cold city like Burlington more than it will warm a relatively warm city, he said.
The group’s data shows that average winter temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona, for example, rose by only three degrees in the same period as Burlington’s rose by seven.
The instruments that took these measurements were installed and monitored by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, Sublette said. The data that Climate Central used is freely available to the public, he said.
All but nine of the cities analyzed saw average winter temperatures rise over the past four decades, Sublette said.
The numbers reflect the average high and low temperatures recorded through December, January and February, Sublette said. These three months constitute what’s known as the meteorological winter, he said. Measurements were taken at least hourly, he said.
Climate Central confined its report to the past 40 years because meteorological data from the available instruments is less robust prior to 1970.
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