Our climate has already changed and will continue to change. Minnesotans are feeling impacts of climate change, from higher temperatures, more extreme storms with intense flooding, and changes in our unique and cherished ecosystems. These impacts will continue to have serious effects on the economy, natural environment, and quality of life in Minnesota.
Storms and flooding
Frequent and intense storms are now occurring more than any time on record, and the trend is projected to continue. Record-breaking floods damage streets, wastewater facilities, businesses, homes, farms, and natural resources, costing local governments, business owners, and residents millions of dollars in cleanup and repairs. Annual precipitation has increased as well, especially in the southern parts of the state.
Rising temperatures statewide
Minnesota is getting warmer, especially winter nights in the northern parts of the state. Daily average minimum temperatures during winter (Dec-Feb) have increased 7.3 degrees from 1895-2021 in northern Minnesota, 6 degrees in central Minnesota and 4.9 degrees in southern Minnesota. Minnesota lakes have lost an average of 10 to 14 days of ice cover in the past 50 years, affecting lake and fish health, outdoor recreation opportunities, local governments, and business owners.
A costly cumulative impact
The years ahead will bring even warmer winters and nights, and even larger rainfalls, along with increased summer heat and longer dry spells. Even if we drastically reduce or halt greenhouse gas emissions immediately, the climate has already changed and will continue to change. Costly repairs to infrastructure, increasing home and crop insurance rates, destructive shifts in our native ecosystems, and more hospitalizations for heat-related illness are some of the impacts climate change is having on Minnesotans and the economy. These impacts are experienced even more acutely by communities in areas of concern for environmental justice.
Climate trends and projected (future) data
The Minnesota Climate Explorer is a simple, user-friendly climate information portal that allows users to graph and analyze past and projected future climate information at a variety of scales across Minnesota. For more information, refer to the Climate Explorer FAQ.