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Midwest and Great Plains are warming, scientists say

Published: Friday, October 5, 2012

Signs of global warming are appearing in several states in the Great Plains and Midwest, according to scientists at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

According to Natalie Umphlett, the regional climatologist at the university's High Plains Regional Climate Center, the region's average temperature has risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 115 years. The highest average temperature increase occurred in North Dakota, which saw a 5-degree jump.

"South Dakota, they've also seen the largest increase in the wintertime months, that was about a 4- degree increase, and then in Nebraska, it was just under a 2-degree increase," Umphlett said. "We haven't been seeing that much of a change in the autumn, but we have been seeing about one and a half to 2 degrees in the spring and in the summer."

The data collection is part of a U.S. Global Change Research Program effort. UNL data show that planting dates are occurring earlier in the six-state region: North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado.

"We've been seeing higher nighttime low temperatures," Umphlett said. "One reason for that could be an increase in the amount of moisture in the air. That can affect the minimum temperatures much more than the maximum. Planting dates have actually been earlier in Nebraska. Certainly, if we're seeing increases in temperatures in the winter and spring, that could affect producers" (Jerry Oster,  WNAX/Nebraska Radio Network, Oct. 4). -- RE

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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