Jeff Masters Weather Blog

How warming winters are hurting outdoor fun in Minnesota » Yale Climate Connections

For many Minnesota locals, a cold winter is often just an excuse to get outside.

Blumenfeld: “We have a bad reputation if you’re not from Minnesota, but in Minnesota we generally celebrate winter.”

Kenny Blumenfeld is a senior climatologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

He says that winter recreation in the land of 10,000 lakes includes everything from skiing and ice skating to snowshoeing and ice fishing.

These activities are possible because of the state’s historically cold and snowy winters — which allow powdery snow to pile up and lakes to freeze over.

But Minnesota’s climate is warming, and winter is warming faster than any other season.

Rising temperatures can cause lake ice to get thinner, making skating and ice fishing more dangerous.

And Blumenfeld says that Minnesota is getting wetter, which means more snowfall. But the snow often melts midseason.

Blumenfeld: “The snow has a much higher water content, so it’s heavy.”

That makes it harder to ski on and more likely to damage trees and buildings.

For people who love the snowy winters of the north, these changes can make climate change really hit home.

Blumenfeld: “I think it’s that recreational piece that Minnesotans really feel because that’s where it hits them personally.”

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media

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