Hexbyte Glen Cove Average winter temperatures in Northeast have warmed by up to 4.8 degrees since 1970, new research shows thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Average winter temperatures in Northeast have warmed by up to 4.8 degrees since 1970, new research shows

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In the winter of 1969-70, Philadelphia had an average temperature of 30.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year, the average was 39.4.

No one says snow and cold spells are things of the past. But winters have warmed considerably since 1970 in the Northeast, according to data compiled by Climate Central, an organization of scientists and journalists that research and report on .

Overall, the group found that winter not only is warmer than it was 50 years ago, it is warming faster than any other season in 38 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Consider:

-In Philadelphia, Climate Central calculated that average winter temperatures have risen 4.8 degrees since 1970, and the season has 19 more days with above-normal temperatures.

-Atlantic City, New Jersey, winters have warmed 4.3 degrees with 14 more days above normal.

-Allentown, Pennsylvania, has warmed 3.8 degrees with 14 more days above normal.

To derive its findings, Climate Central used data from the Applied Climate Information System for 242 U.S. weather stations.

It calculated and days above normal in December, January and February 1969-70, and compared the same months through 2019-20. An above-normal winter day was defined as one with an average temperature above the 1981-2010 normal.

Of the meteorological stations, 98% saw an increase in average winter temperatures since 1970, with most warming 2 degrees or more.

Overall, average winter temperatures increased the most around the Great Lakes and Northeast region, as did the number of days with above-normal temperatures.

Sean Sublette, a meteorologist at Climate Central who lives in Bucks County, said the 50-year data show an undeniable warming in the Philadelphia region.

However, even going back 150 years, minimum winter temperatures were rising though not as quickly. Still, the data indicate a steady upward trend over time, he said.

“All these minimums here are going up,” Sublette said. “There’s been no going back down. You start seeing a very consistent rise about 50 years ago.”

He noted that temperatures are still rising even though the sun is currently in a less-active portion of its normal cycle. Low periods like we are now seeing should mean cooler temperatures.

However, Sublette said, the trend is still rising, which scientists attribute to climate change.

Warmer winters might be enjoyable for some, but they can have serious consequences for industries such as agriculture.

“Fruit trees,” Sublette said, “need to be chilled cold for a good part of the so they get those cues to come out of dormancy and produce flowers and fruit. If that doesn’t happen they get all messed up.”

Further, he said it’s also potentially damaging to plants when they flower prematurely in, say, a warm February, then refreeze in early March.

Though Sublette noted ski resorts such as those in the Poconos are trying to stay ahead by diversifying their offerings, it’s not true that warming always means less snow.

In fact, at times, warming can produce bigger snowfalls.

Sublette explained that the Northeast has seen some big snows in the last decade because warming has yielded more energy in the atmosphere to feed storms. Rising temperatures can still remain below freezing, setting the stage for a big Nor’easter.

Attempts to address climate change have been stalled since 2017 when President Donald Trump took office, pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord and spent the remainder of his term rolling back more than 80 environmental regulations, according to the Harvard Law School. Other organizations list more than 100.

Some of those rollbacks were aimed at curbing emissions from carbon and methane, both of which are , from power plants, fracking operations, and auto emissions.

President-elect Joe Biden has named former U.S. Sen. John Kerry to a new post, special envoy for , and pledged to rejoin the Paris accord. But if Biden plans to undo the Trump administration’s work, it could take years on some of the regulations because of how government rules are set up and possible court challenges.



©2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Citation:
Average winter temperatures in Northeast have warmed by up to 4.8 degrees since 1970, new research shows (2020, November 29)

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Mammoth move: loneliest elephant heads to Cambodia after Cher campaign thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Mammoth move: loneliest elephant heads to Cambodia after Cher campaign

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Kavaan (in enclosure at right) is set to be flown to Cambodia following a campaign by pop star Cher to free the elephant

Following years of public outcry and campaigning by American pop star Cher, the “world’s loneliest elephant” embarked Sunday on a mammoth move from Pakistan to retirement in a Cambodian sanctuary.

The famed singer and Oscar-winning actress has spent recent days at the Islamabad zoo to provide moral support to Kaavan—an overweight, 36-year-old bull elephant—whose pitiful treatment at the dilapidated facility sparked an uproar from animal rights groups and a spirited social media campaign by Cher.

“My wishes have finally come true”, Cher said in a statement thanking her charity Free The Wild.

“We have been counting down to this moment and dreaming of it for so long and to finally see Kaavan transported out of (the Islamabad) zoo will remain with us forever.”

Kaavan’s case and the woeful conditions at the zoo resulted in a judge this year ordering all the animals to be moved.

“Thanks to Cher and also to local Pakistani activists, Kaavan’s fate made headlines around the globe and this contributed to the facilitation of his transfer,” said Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws International—an animal welfare group that has spearheaded the relocation effort.

Experts spent hours coaxing a slightly sedated Kaavan into a specially constructed metal crate—at one point using ropes to help pull him in—that a large crane then hoisted onto a lorry ahead of the planned trip to Islamabad airport.

From there, Kaavan will be sent via a Russian transport jumbo jet for the lengthy flight to Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. The plane will make a stop in New Delhi, and the onward drive from Siem Reap to the sanctuary is expected to take a couple of hours.

Kaavan’s case and the woeful conditions at the zoo resulted in a judge this year ordering all the animals to be moved

Cher spent several days in the Pakistani capital to visit Kaavan before the trip to a 10,000-hectare (25,000-acre) Cambodian wildlife sanctuary, with Prime Minister Imran Khan personally thanking the 74-year-old star.

Cher was due to fly to Cambodia on Sunday to be in the Southeast Asian nation when the elephant arrives.

Officials said Kaavan will initially be kept in a small designated section of the park where he can see other .

“Sending him to a place where he can be with other elephants of his kind … is really the right choice,” climate change minister Malik Amin Aslam told AFP.

“We will be happy to see him happy in Cambodia and we hope he finds a partner very soon.”

‘Loneliest’ elephant

Dubbed by the press as the world’s loneliest elephant, Kaavan is the only Asian elephant in Pakistan—the tiny number of other pachyderms at other zoos are African.

A team of vets and experts from Four Paws have spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the trip to Cambodia, which has included training the elephant to enter the massive metal transport crate that will be placed in a cargo plane for the seven-hour flight.

A team of vets and experts from Four Paws have spent months working with Kaavan to get him ready for the airplane trip

Zoo officials have in the past denied Kaavan was kept in substandard conditions or chained, claiming instead the creature was pining for a new mate after his partner died in 2012.

But Kaavan’s behaviour—including signs of distress such as continual head-bobbing—raised concerns of mental illness.

Activists also said Kaavan was not properly sheltered from Islamabad’s searing summer temperatures.

Kaavan’s mate Saheli, who also arrived from Sri Lanka, died in 2012.

Rights groups and conservationists have said that the abysmal conditions at the Islamabad zoo resulted in part from the lack of legislation in Pakistan aimed at protecting animal welfare.

“There’s a lot of improvement to be made,” said Rab Nawaz with the World Wildlife Federation in Pakistan.

“Kaavan is just one animal. There’s lots of animals in Pakistan… which are in miserable conditions.”



© 2020 AFP

Citation:
Mammoth move: loneliest elephant heads to Cambodia after Cher campaign (2020, November 29)
retrieved 30 November 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-11-mammoth-loneliest-elephant-cambodia-cher.html

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