Winters are Heating Up - NBC Connecticut
On Ryan's Radar

On Ryan's Radar

First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan Gives You His Take on Connecticut's Weather

Winters are Heating Up

On Ryan's Radar

NBC Connecticut First Alert meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan gives you the science behind the forecast and shares with you an in-depth look at the weather impacting Connecticut.

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(Published Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017)

If you've lived in Connecticut for a certain amount of time you may have noticed winters are milder now than they were several decades ago. The data backs up what many people already know.

Check out the temperature increase in the Hartford area (officially Bradley International Airport) over the last approximately 50 years. In that time the average winter temperature has increased nearly 4 degrees. Every weather station with long terms records I examined as seen a similar trend locally.

It's not just Connecticut that's getting warmer. During December, January, and February which is meteorological winter virtually every climate division has experienced warming since 1970 in the United States according to our partners at Climate Central.

As levels of Carbon Dioxide rise in the atmosphere climate scientists are nearly certain that temperatures will continue to rise. Even in a warmer climate colder than normal spells of weather can and will still occur - though they won't occur as frequently as warm spells. 

You may be wondering if warmer weather means less snow. The answer, for now, is no. There has been no discernible trend in New England of decreasing annual snowfall and in some locations snowfall is actually increasing. While this may seem counterintuitve warmer air can "hold" more water vapor. More moisture in the atmosphere plus warmer sea surface temperatures offshore can result in more intense storms and at least over the last several decades more snow.