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Even N.H.'s Cold Snaps Are Getting Warmer, Research Says

Brian Wallstin

Last week's cold snap gives way to much milder temperatures this week.

Climate scientists say it’s all part of a warming trend in New Hampshire – where winters are heating up faster than in most of the rest of the country.

New research shows the state is on the leading edge of an increase in annual low temperatures across the country.  

The nonprofit Climate Central analyzed 50 years of weather records in 244 towns and cities nationwide. It found that nearly all have seen an overall increase in their coldest yearly temperature since 1970.

Concord had the biggest increase of any New England city studied - nearly 13 degrees. That’s more than twice the national average of six degrees, which is about how much Manchester’s yearly low temperature has increased.  

Credit Climate Central

New Hampshire state climatologist Mary Stampone says this region will always have some cold weather – but that’s different from its climate.

"Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get,” Stampone says.

Stampone say scientists’ expectations – that the climate will warm over time due to greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere – are playing out faster in New Hampshire winters than in many other states.

"We can expect that over time, as winters warm, we're going to have fewer of these cold days,” Stampone says, as well as “a shorter snowfall season – snow is going to melt sooner."

She says this will have environmental and economic repercussions – on tourism, animals, transportation and agriculture.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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