November 25, 2014

Study: Nebraska shows evidence of gradual global warming

Definite signs of global warming are starting to appear in studies of temperature variations in Nebraska and across the region over the decades, according to scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Natalie Umphlett, the regional climatologist at UNL’s High Plains Climate Center, says the region’s average temp rose almost two-degrees in the past 115 years. North Dakota had the biggest rise at five-degrees.

“South Dakota, they’ve also seen the largest increase in the wintertime months, that was about a four-degree increase, and then in Nebraska, it was just under a two-degree increase,” Umphlett says. “We haven’t been seeing that much of a change in the autumn but we have been seeing about one-and-a-half to two-degrees in the spring and in the summer.”

The data is part of a study being released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Umphlett says some of UNL’s own research is being released in tandem with the Global Change study. It shows planting dates are falling earlier than normal in the six-state region of South and North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming and Colorado.

“We’ve been seeing higher nighttime low temperatures,” Umphlett says. “One reason for that could be an increase in the amount of moisture in the air. That can affect the minimum temperatures much more than the maximum. Planting dates have actually been earlier in Nebraska. Certainly, if we’re seeing increases in temperatures in the winter and spring, that could affect producers.”

The results of the studies will be outlined by Nebraska conservation and environmental groups as part of two public sessions this month. The first one is being held this Saturday in Lincoln, with the second session in Omaha on October 20th.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton