Hibbing, Minnesota, usually only makes the New York Times in stories about its hometown son Bob Dylan or, once every decade or so, for being a hardscrabble mining town on the rocks. So how exciting to see the town on the front page of the New York Times for something else: increasing average temperatures since 1960.
Because many people are hardwired to ignore the differences between climate and temperatures, the graphic will surely setting a lot of climate change deniers off the deep end, including some of MinnesotaBrown’s most persistent commenters. (You know, it was really cold this past winter; much colder than usual).
But one year or two is not a trend on its own. What the study cited by the New York Times shows is the change in averages over the century; and it explains something that’s been vexing local biologists: the animals, birds and trees all seem to believe pretty firmly in climate change these last few decades. They speak with their wings, paws and roots. John Latimer, the staff phenologist at Northern Community Radio, has reported species of birds and animals moving further north, and altering their migration patterns over the past 30 years.
So when this graphic shows a 3.1 degree increase in temperature averages from 1901-1960 to 1991-2012, that computes with what the animals are doing, even if it seems hard to grasp amid the winter blasts coming down from the Arctic.
UPDATE: I later learned that Bob Collins at MPR’s NewsCut had pointed out the same article in a post yesterday. I found out about this from my east coast collaborator Matt Nelson.