Temperature extremes show warming of Detroit’s climate

Happy Earth Week and Earth Day!

Working with NBC’s Climate Challenge Week, local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross will answer the most frequently asked questions about climate change throughout the week.

On Thursday we will talk about how climate change has affected Metro Detroit’s climate.

To understand the effects of climate change on the specific climate in Detroit, let’s look at temperature extremes – or the hottest and coldest temperatures in recent decades.

If the climate in Detroit had remained stable over the past 150 years, the ratio of record warmth to record cold would be almost 1: 1, but that is not the case.

In the 1990s, the heat records exceeded the cold records by a ratio of 3: 1. That in itself is unusual.

In the 2000s, the heat record to cold record ratio rose to 6 to 1, which is amazing.

In the last decade, the 2010s, the ratio was 3.5 to 1.


Statistics from the past three decades clearly show that Detroit’s climate is extremely warm.

Another surprising statistic: Six of the 15 most snow-sure winters of all time in Detroit have only occurred since 2002. This is due to climate change: in a warmer world, more sea water evaporates, and that extra humidity gives large winter storms more moisture to produce more snow.

Climate Challenge Week stories

More: Environmentally friendly tips for Earth Week

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