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Warmer Air Temperatures

Temperatures are rising. Climate change has already increased average temperatures enough to shift seasons — spring comes earlier and fall frosts arrive later. These shifts in seasons compel some species to migrate farther north or to higher elevations.

According to a recent report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program:

“U.S. average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees F over the past 50 years and is projected to rise more in the future…most areas of the United States have warmed 1 to 2 degrees F compared to the 1960s and 1970s.”

Although temperatures are rising, it is important to recognize that temperatures are rising on average. Put another way, climate change increases the likeliness that a specific season or year will be warmer than the historic average. Colder-than-average temperatures are still possible in a climate-changing world; they will simply occur less frequently.

Warmer average temperatures affect almost everything. Rising air temperatures are a trigger for many other climate change impacts, such as:

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