Forecasting Change: Spring is getting warmer

Spring warming

ORLANDO, Fla. – We made it past winter! And now that March has arrived, we are in “Meteorological Spring.”

Astronomical spring will arrive on March 20 at 11:33 p.m., but for weather purposes, we use the calendar months of March, April, and May. On this week’s Forecasting Change, we look at the warming that is taking over our weather patterns.

Let us start with February. This past month has been both warmer than normal and drier than normal. Look at the stats in the graphics below.

February temperatures
February rainfall

If your lawn seems extra crunchy, this is why.

And it is not just this February that has been the problem. This is simply part of a trend that we can see building over the last five decades. Since 1970, the average temperature in Orlando has gone up 5.3 degrees.

February warming

And now that February and the winter season are past, our spring is getting off to an above normal start. That is also part of a pattern of climate change.

The graphic below shows how many days above normal we have been having. Year to year the numbers bounce up and down, but overall, the trend is upward. Upward to the tune of 10 more days above normal compared to 1970.

Days above average

And look at the increase in our average spring temperature since 1970. It is up almost a degree and a half.

Average spring temperature

And it is not just Florida feeling the heat for spring. Since 1970, almost 70% of the U.S. has seen an increase in spring days with above average temperatures.

This pattern of warmer winters leading to early and warmer springs, can lead to longer growing seasons in some parts of our country. It also causes pest problems to increase, produces a longer pollen season and plays havoc with migratory animals.


About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.