The Ledger, along with other news outlets, recently investigated why the Northeast region of the U.S. is warming faster than the rest of the country. A NE CASC-affiliated researcher was interviewed in many of the articles.
Northeast Warming Faster than the Rest of the U.S.
The Northeast region warmed more than any other region in the lower-48 over the last five decades, according to data from NOAA. Rhode Island is heating up faster than any of the other lower 48 states and has already passed the U.N. threshold of 2-degrees Celsius of warming. Several other states in the Northeast follow not far behind. These state-by-state differences in warming highlight the crucial need for regional-scale climate modeling. Global temperature averages don't necessarily reflect average temperatures locally, because the impacts of climate change are unevenly distributed.
Scientists are investigating the reason for this accelerated warming in Rhode Island and the Northeast. A common hypothesis is that warming waters in the Atlantic Ocean are contributing to warming in coastal and inland areas of the Northeast. “You see so much variability in temperature over land throughout the year,” said Ambarish Karmalkar, a climate researcher at University of Massachusetts Amherst and the NE CASC. “Variability over the ocean is much smaller. It takes much longer to warm the ocean, and takes much longer to cool it.” This means that as the ocean heats up, it provides a lasting heat source, which is being exacerbated by climate change.