Hello readers! This blog is devoted to the weather and climate of the State of Ohio
past, present, and future. Although the focus of the site is on the Buckeye State, I will occasionally discuss interesting observations from other states in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. While discussions of the effects of climate change are most often directed towards Arctic ecosystems and other places where those effects are more visible, Ohio’s climate is in the process of undergoing a metamorphosis of its own. I’ve always been a bit of a weather weenie, which led me to look back at the history of Ohio’s weather and climate. It’s clear that there have been changes. NCDC, as shown in the figure below, estimates the trend at 0.09F/decade in the state. While this doesn’t sound like much, it has manifested itself in a number of ways which this blog will explore. Perhaps most notably, it has been evident in decreasing extreme cold wintertime temperatures and summertime temperatures. The growing season has lengthened considerably in many places, and the plant hardiness zones have steadily crept northward with time. The graph also suggests, however, that the warming trend may be accelerating in recent years, as the majority of years since the turn of the Century have fallen above the trendline. Indeed, the most recent 12 month period is the warmest on record. The official NCDC records extend back to 1895, but I will often discuss observations of weather events and other phenomena that predate even this.
Regardless of your view on whether climate change is being caused or contributed to by the activities of man, the reality is it is occurring! To date, most of the effects on Ohio have likely been positive. Unfortunately, these changes have probably be imperceptible to most Ohioans occurring on a timescale greater than any single lifetime. If climate models are correct, however, the changes may be occurring faster in the near future. From time to time, I will also look at the potential future changes to the climate should these models be correct. The geologic record discloses that the earth’s climate has been in constant flux over the past millions of years. From past eras, it may be possible to infer the types of effects that would occur in Ohio and surroundings from extreme global warming.