Global Warming Science -


Northeast U.S.


[last update: 2011/01/08]



The Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) “Climate Choices” web site (published in 2006) says: “here in the Northeast, the climate is changing. Records show that spring is arriving earlier, summers are growing hotter, and winters are becoming warmer and less snowy. These changes are consistent with global warming, an urgent phenomenon driven by heat-trapping emissions from human activities





Northeast US Region


Northeast data are available from the NOAA / NCDC website – the following figures are from there []


UCS: “spring is arriving earlier”. Spring arrives in March in the Northeast. The warmest and coldest Marches were more than 50 years ago – perhaps the climate is stabilizing.




UCS: “summers are growing hotter”. The hottest month is July – shown in the following figure. No significant long-term trend. Warmest July: 1955. Coldest July: 2000.



But they said “summer”. Again, no significant long-term trend. Warmest summer: 1949.




UCS: “winters are becoming warmer and less snowy”. January is the coldest month – no significant long-term trend. Warmest January: 1932.




Winters have warmed slightly due to some very cold winters in the early 1900s. Warmest winter: 2002, second warmest: 1932.




But there is no significant winter warming over the last 80 years.




As for snow cover: “snow cover duration is variable in both space and time. The duration of a snow cover of 2·5 cm or greater varies from greater than 100 days in northern New England to less than 20 days across areas of Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia. Temporally, snow cover duration for the region as a whole was very short from the late 1940s through to the mid-1950s. From the late 1950s to the end of the period snow cover duration has varied around a consistent mean value. No long-term trends in snow cover duration are apparent in the record for the northeast USA.” [;2-7/abstract]


Another study found that areas with low total snowfall have been receiving less, while areas that receive significant snow have no long-term trend. [] The following figures are from that study showing mean annual snowfall anomaly for locations with 5 inches (left) and 40 inches (right).



Beware of short-term data sets. Climate change follows an approximately 60-year cycle. Various studies show decreasing snow cover over the last 40 years. For example, the figure below-left shows change in snow cover days for the 1965 – 2005 period []. The figure below right indicates the 1965-2005 trend on the figure from above-right.





Temperature Extremes in the Northeast


The extreme climate events in each state can be found at this NOAA / NCDC web site:



The following table summarizes the hot and cold records for most of the states in the US Northeast region (these are the hottest / coldest days recorded – not state averages for the given years).



Max Temp

Min Temp




New Hampshire






New York









New Jersey











Although on the south end of the Northeast, the following link describes the greatest storms in the greater Washington-Baltimore area: []




So what are these “concerned scientists” so concerned about? According to their mission statement: “UCS seeks a great change in humanity's stewardship of the earth.” []

The UCS was started in 1969 as an anti-nuclear weapon organization, but switched its focus to global warming when the Soviet Union collapsed and it became clear that large amounts of funds were available from the left-wing foundations (Pew Trusts, Joyce Foundation, MacArthur Foundation…)

For more information on the UCS see: [] And details about their funding: []




[update: 2011/01/08]


The UCS didn’t mention the Northeast region average annual temperature – shown below.




There has been no warming trend over the last 80 years – in other words, recent warming is not unprecedented. The globally “hot” year of 2010 was below normal in the Northeast US.




The last 15 years: no warming.