Ol’ Man Winter Is No Match for Climate Change

The record-high temperatures and beautiful weather this past weekend and Monday may have lulled us into thinking that the worst of winter was behind us. But Ol’ Man Winter gave us a head-fake worthy of Patrick Mahomes by bringing our region the threat of a major nor’easter with high winds, significant snow, and coastal flooding on Tuesday, although the Greater Boston area escaped the worst of it.

But try as he might, Ol’ Man Winter just ain’t what he used to be thanks to the effects of climate change.

Eight of the 24 warmest winter days on record in Boston over the past 110 years have occurred since 2016. But it isn’t just our corner of the globe that is feeling the effects of a warming planet. World-wide, December 2023 was the warmest December ever, completing a year in which the seven months from June to December all broke temperature records, making 2023 the warmest year since record-keeping began.

With ocean water temperatures now following the same trend, it is expected that a warming planet and a warming ocean will create a positive feedback loop that will accelerate both trends at a far more rapid rate than even the most-pessimistic climate change scientists had predicted.

For those among us who think that the worst effects of climate change will have to be addressed by future generations, the rapidity of the onset of climate change effectively means that there is no place on Earth that is safe for any of us.

In other words, the future is now.

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