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Remembering the Weather of Winters Past

The measurable effects of climate change are a tangible reminder of trends over time that otherwise can be hard to recall.
February 14, 2020, 5am PST | Camille Fink
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Antonio Cañas Vargas

Heather Hansman was born during a January snowstorm in Boston. She tries to go skiing on her birthday each year, but weather conditions in recent years mean she is often facing snowless or storm-drenched mountains.

"On the day of my birth, 36 years ago, the high temperature in Boston was 20. This year it was 69. That’s the difference in weather. Those are specific data points, but if you look over time, there’s a significant upward temperature trend. That’s climate, that’s what’s happening globally, not just at a single point," says Hansman.

This trackable change means the effects of climate change over time are not just a vague sense that the weather is different from one point in time to another. "Memory can be foggy—we can have trouble remembering the specifics of any given storm or season, but now we have data to prove the curve of climate change in our own personal histories," adds Hansman.

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Published on Saturday, February 1, 2020 in Outside
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