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Winter weather in spring causes confusion and chaos within Massachusetts

(Photo Courtesy of The Atlantic)
“Winter storm hits Boston, Massachusetts in 2023.”

Steven O’Hara
Connector Editor

For many Massachusetts residents, spring is the natural progression from the harshness of the winter months, with strong snow and cold storms, to the easy breeze of the approaching warm weather. However, the warm temperatures and sunny skies as of late have seemed to be missing in this northeast-coast state. What happened to spring? 

A short answer to this question is a combination of natural spring weather and global warming. The long answer is harder to discern. Dr. Christopher Skinner, an Environmental Earth and Atmospheric Science professor at UMass Lowell, knows a little more about climate change than the average person and has provided some useful answers. When asked about the erratic change in weather as of late, Dr. Skinner says, “The fluctuations we have been seeing are better classified as weather.  The spring in particular is infamous for very large swings in temperature.  This is because we are transitioning between the cold winter and hot summer. That said, temperatures during spring are warming quickly and the warmest days we are now seeing in spring are likely impacted by the general global warming trend.”

As of this month, the lowest temperature to have hit Lowell, Massachusetts has been recorded at an average of 34 degrees Fahrenheit the first week of March. Temperatures have only seemed to increase from there, rising to temperatures closer to the 40s and 50s during the week of March 20. But will these increasing temperatures stay? Dr. Skinner says, “[Spring is] one of my favorite times of the year! The temperature warms dramatically over this time period.  Our average high temperature at the end of March [in Lowell] is about 45°F.  By the end of April when the semester ends, average temperatures will warm to the low 60s. Along with this warming, we will see our chance of significant snowfall drop to zero over the next few weeks (no more snow days!).” As the spring semester ends at UMass Lowell, hopefully the weather will stay nice enough for students to enjoy the outdoors before finals.

This spring isn’t the only time temperatures will fluctuate like in Massachusetts—especially over the next few years. As global warming is an ever-present force, the legislation seems to become more lenient every day for the U.S. and unregulated industries continue to cause pollution, what appears to be like extreme weather for Massachusetts residents may be entirely different. Dr. Skinner says, “One of the things we expect with continued global warming is that our weather becomes more extreme. We have very high confidence that we will see more frequent and more intense heat waves and heavy rain events.  We should absolutely expect to see these types of things in the Lowell area over the next few decades.”

Global warming, and climate change especially, is an issue that is going nowhere unless every person on Earth actively works to fight against it. Environmental protections and climate-change legislation are actively being reduced in the United States with no end in sight. Fight for a better future and fight for a better world.

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