As this decade ends, still no signs of our climate cooling down

Even though we are beginning to make positive steps to slow human-caused global warming, we haven't yet seen results.

December has arrived—and with it, the last month of the 2010s.

While our hindsight isn't quite 2020, climate change has left plenty to remember over the decade. This release from Climate Central covers warming temperatures by the decade, with clear trends at where the trends are locally, nationally, and globally.

In the Quad Cities, the 2010s have continued a nearly-steady increase in temperature, with the average of those ten years at 51.5 degrees. That's more than two degrees warmer than we saw, on average, in the 1970s.

Of 244 cities analyzed, 222 cities have seen their warmest decade.

When it comes to the United States, the data shows more of the same: steady warming...especially prevalent since the 1970s.

Around the world, global warming is in full swing.

The globe is warming at a rate of as much as 0.5°F per decade. If this trend continues, it won’t take long to blow past the Paris Agreement’s limits of 1.5-2°C (2.9-3.8°F) above pre-industrial levels.

To put it lightly: we are more than half way there.

When it comes to warming, the Quad Cities (and much of the Midwest) is warming at the greatest rate in the Winter season.

This makes it troublesome to understand how this warming climate hurts us since a warm winter day is "welcomed" by us.

Think of those 50 degree days in January and how nice it is to get a break from the cold. It is this Meteorologist's opinion that we need to recognize that these very warm Winter days aren't a treat, but rather out-of-the-ordinary days.

The takeaways from a decade of warming?

Weather/climate disasters have cost the U.S. more than $700 Billion in the 2010s (inflation adjusted). Arctic sea ice has been melting to record-low extents each month of this year, most recently in October. Coral reefs have suffered severe bleaching, which is now five times more common than it was just 40 years ago.

Winter warming also has a negative impact on winter-sports like skiing, snowboarding, ice-fishing, and skating.

A 2017 study projected that warming could cause winter recreation to shrink by up to 50% by 2050, resulting in tens of millions of forgone visits each year. This would be a significant blow to the local communities who depend on winter tourism dollars.

In the 2015-16 season, skiing and snowmobiling alone generated $11.3 billion nationally and supported over 191,000 jobs.

Winter cold isn’t just important for recreation—production of fruits (such as apples, cherries and peaches) contribute $4 billion annually to the U.S. economy and rely on a period of winter chilling.

Warmer winters also threaten to interfere with other natural rhythms—allowing crop pests to persist for longer and mistiming animal migration.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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