Second Warmest Winter on Record


Image from NOAA

Maxwell Bernstein | March 18, 2020

Global land and ocean surface temperatures for December through February in the Northern Hemisphere were the 2nd warmest in 141 years according to NOAA’s Global Climate Report, making this Earth’s 2nd warmest winter on record.

Global land and ocean temperatures for the winter of 2019-2020 were 2.02°F warmer than the 20th century average temperature, while December through February of 2015-2016 were 2.12°F warmer than the 20thcentury average temperature. The 2015-2016 winter temperatures were raised by a periodic El Niño boost which the 2019-2020 winter lacked. 

NOAA also released their National Climate Reports for December, January, and February of 2020, making this the 6th warmest winter on record in the United States. 

Some notable statistics included December of 2019 being the 2nd wettest year on record for the United States, with 4.48 inches of precipitation more than the average. This was also the 5th warmest January for the United States with temperatures being 5.4°F warmer than the 20th century average.

The warm winter coincides with 2019 being Earth’s 2nd hottest year in the 140-year records. The global temperatures of 2019 were .07°F less than 2016’s record temperatures. These record temperatures are attributed to the release of heat trapping greenhouse gasses from human-induced climate change

Warm weather brings the ticks out early in Iowa


Photo by John Tann, Flickr.

Stories continue to come out about how Iowa’s unusually warm winter affected our environment. Now, it is being reported that ticks have showed up in Iowa earlier than normal.

Typically, ticks do not start appearing until May or June, but already people have noticed the insects on their pets and on themselves.

This means that people will have to start watching out for ticks, since no one wants to get Lyme disease. Precautions include checking pets and children for ticks after they come inside, and making sure your skin is well covered when outdoors.

The most common spots ticks latch onto are the scalp and folded areas of the skin.

For more information, check out an article from KCRG here.

Freezing temperatures in Iowa hurt fruit farmers


Photo by Nellie76, Flickr.

Some parts of Iowa saw freezing temperatures this morning. As we mentioned in March, fruit farmers in Iowa feared an April freeze because it could damage their crop.

Most fruit bloomed unusually early this year due to the warm weather. Once in bloom, freezing temperatures can destroy a substantial portion of fruit crops.

For instance, according to a horticulture professor at Iowa State University, about 90 percent of an apple orchard will be damaged at 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read more about how the weather affects Iowa’s fruit farmers in a Des Moines Register article here.

More pest projections based on Iowa’s warm winter


Photo by servitude, Flickr.

Two weeks ago, we linked to a Des Moines Register article suggesting that Iowa’s mild winter could lead to an increase in pests. The Des Moines Register released a new, more in-depth, article today indicating that this year’s pest population may actually be close to normal.

An entomologist quoted in the article explained that spring weather affects insect populations more than the winter because most insects reproduce in the spring. Therefore, although there are more insects out now than most years at this time, the overall amount of insects will likely be similar to the norm.

The article also notes that the warm winter could help Iowa’s bee colonies, giving a boost to honey production.

Read more about this year’s pest projections here.

Warm weather presents dilemma for corn farmers


Photo by brandoncripps, Flickr.

Iowa’s warm weather is tempting farmers to start planting corn early.

Conditions are ideal for planting right now, but many farmers worry that a freeze may still come. If corn is planted within the next couple of weeks, it would face a high risk of damage from a May freeze.

The incentive for planting early is that corn delivered in September receives a 50-cents per bushel premium over the corn delivered in October.

Read a Press-Citizen article about the farmers’ dilemma here.

Read about how the warm weather affects Iowa’s fruit farms here.

Read about what the warm weather means for Iowa’s pests here.