Breakdown: Why summer seems to be lasting longer

Why summer seems to be lasting longer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The fall season has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere, but many in the Mid-South and other parts of the country are wondering when the fall temperatures will finally get here. Meteorological fall begins September first, but for 2019 the majority of September was spent with high temperatures of 90 degrees or higher and Memphis even reached 100 degrees on Sept. 16.

According to data analyzed by Climate Central, autumn temperatures have changed in many locations over the past half-century, a finding that shows the fall season has warmed an average of 2.5 degrees fahrenheit across the nation since 1970.

Fall warming across the United States
Fall warming across the United States (Source: Climate Central)

And even locally, Memphis has seen an increase of fall temperatures by almost two degrees during that same time period. This is a pattern that has left many taking notice in the uptick in temperatures over the past years, especially with the exceptionally warm temperatures of September 2019.

Fall Warming in Memphis from Climate Central
Fall Warming in Memphis from Climate Central (Source: Climate Central)

Approximately 244 cities across the country were analyzed by Climate Central and the data they gathered found that 95 percent of those cities recorded an increase in temperatures, and more than half had an increase of two degrees fahrenheit or higher.

Cities with the highest increase were Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada along with El Paso, Texas rounding out the top three. Fall has been the fastest warming season in states such as Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

Fastest Warming Seasons
Fastest Warming Seasons (Source: Climate Central)

With the Summer temperatures showing signs of stretching into the meteorological fall season, this is putting more demand on energy consumption, according to Climate Central.

The additional demand due to the additional warmth adds to the high cost of cooling and air conditioning costs. This warmer trend can also have the potential to extend summer season woes such as allergies, mosquitoes, and ticks. Bird migration, hibernation patterns, growing seasons and fruit ripening can be thrown off schedule. Ecosystem health and biodiversity could potentially be impacted, although, those impacts are not yet fully understood.

There are also concerns that a warmer and drier fall could prolong and possibly enhance wildfire season. This, according to Climate Central, could have negative impacts on air quality and make air stagnation an issue.

So, if you’ve noticed the warmer weather seeming to last longer over the past few years, you’re right.

METHODOLOGY: The national trend in fall temperatures are from NOAA/NCEI Climate at a Glance for September through November. Individual city temperature trends are calculated using data from the Applied Climate Information System for the same period. Displayed trend lines on city analyses are based on a mathematical linear regression. – Source climatecentral.org

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