Minnesota’s changing weather, in five charts

By: - December 10, 2021 6:00 am

A moose browsing for woody plants in the snow. National Park Service photo

Winter is officially here, with the Twin Cities’ first lingering snowfall and several days of sub-freezing temperatures — but you might not need that parka quite as much this year, thanks to climate change.

As one of the fastest-warming states in the country, we’re already feeling the effects of climate change, with milder winters, heavier rainfalls and worse allergy seasons since the 19th century. Some of the effects of climate change are irreversible, said Heidi Roop, a University of Minnesota climate change researcher, but there’s still hope.

“The solutions to this grand challenge boil down to two things: How much we prevent the problem from getting worse … and preparing our communities for the climate impacts we’ve already set in motion,” Roop said.

Individual actions, such as composting and choosing energy-efficient appliances at home, add up more than we might think, Roop said. Getting involved in government at all levels, from school board to Congress, is also important to help communities prepare for the future.

“(Local government) is often where the rubber meets the road. That’s where decisions are being made that shape the future of our communities, that will determine whether our communities are able to withstand and bounce forward from climate extremes,” Roop said. 

Here’s more on climate change in Minnesota, in five charts.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.

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