PITTSBURGH — Winter is losing its cool. Climate change is causing a shift in every season, but winter is the fastest warming season.
Warmer and shorter winters can affect plants, animals, insects and snow by decreasing the quality and yield of fruits and nuts, allowing pests to stick around longer and accelerating snowpack melt and limiting snowfall.
We are seeing fewer frigid nights with overnight lows warming 25% faster than daytime highs. Winter should have the coldest nights of the year, but Pittsburgh has 10 fewer freezing nights since 1970.
On one hand, fewer extremely cold nights could decrease cold weather hazards, especially for the unhoused community. But businesses and communities that rely on winter recreation, and local growers that need efficient chill hours during the winter for buds to break, could be impacted the hardest by warming winters.
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