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The weather of this slowww spring

Posted on Apr 24, 2014

Is it spring? How about now? This could turn into an, “are we there yet?!” routine rather quickly if we cannot manage to move the ridge to the East and get a consistent southerly flow soon! I think we all know it was an extremely cold winter for New England and the Mid-Atlantic but here’s more evidence if you needed to be convinced.


Temperature departures of that magnitude across such large swaths of the nation are incredible. It’s notable to have a single month more than a few degrees one way or the other, forget three with huge areas 6 to 8 degrees below average and nearly the entirety of the region between 4 to 6 under. Suffice it to say we are also far more accustomed to these shifts on the positive side as climate change has routinely put us in above-average on a monthly basis sometimes for years on end. Here’s the same period for precipitation…


As you can see this is largely near average for everyone with either slightly above or below amounts recorded across the entire region. Precipitation continues to be largely a non-factor in our aberrant weather as the temperatures are still the never ending story, even throughout April. Here’s the last 30 days…


It’s not as bad as it was but it is still colder than average for nearly everyone. This is not helping to spur along plant growth, bird migration, insect hatching or breeding in sometimes still frozen vernal pools. Every single long-term climate site in New England and the Mid-Atlantic had below average temperatures from March 1 through April 15!


How do we look going forward? Does more of the same sound appealing? The next couple of weeks look to continue similar trends of near or just below average temperatures which, in comparison to recent years, feel cooler to us than the departure from those long-term averages implies. Think of 2012 when we had scorching temperatures in the 70s and 80s throughout March in these same regions. Even when it isn’t that warm the 21st century has had routinely warmer than average years that make these conditions seem all the more chilly. People in my generation (I’m 28) grew up in the new climate reality in the northeast and to just see trees beginning to bud now in the end of April in Connecticut seems “wrong”.

No matter our personal feelings the volatile nature of these year-to-year weather shifts is worrisome and difficult for birds to deal with in both migration and breeding. These extreme climate vacillations are going to increase over time and have an even more substantial negative impact on hundreds of species making our work to conserve and protect our avian populations all the more important.


Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Data and graphics via Northeast Regional Climate Center