As February comes to a close, people are shedding their winter coats and putting on their flip-flops. With most days having temperatures in the sixties and above, students all over North Carolina are giving up on more snow day and preparing for warmer days and spring break.
This winter was the third warmest on record for Raleigh, with an average monthly temperature of 53.32 degrees. With the state average being around 50 degrees, according to the State Climate Office of North Carolina, Raleigh is above the norm.
As the topic of climate change becomes more prevalent in the media, the thought that this warm weather may be a sign of global warming becomes more and more tangible.
Scott Stephens, from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) said, via email, “A seasonal or monthly record such as this cannot be directly attributed to climate change, especially since we are talking about a very specific location. Climate change signals are best identified at the national or global-scale, and so we do monitor national and global temperatures accordingly, in order to capture those kinds of trends. And yes, we are warming.”
“We are coming off a very strong El Niño event that ended last fall, and this has likely contributed to the very warm conditions this winter across North Carolina and much of the eastern part of the United States,” said Stephens.
While these warmer days are enjoyable, it’s important to think about the consequences that they might be having on the environment. As the temperature increases and climate change becomes a more universal topic, we need to make a change in how we deal with pollution and greenhouse gases.