Midwest experiences winter warmth disrupting life and economy

Unprecedented warm winter disrupts traditions and economies across the Midwest as ice vanishes from the Great Lakes.

Stephen Starr reports for The Guardian.


In short:

  • This year's Great Lakes ice cover is at a potential record low of around 4% compared to the historical average of 40%.
  • The warm winter has caused the cancellation of major events like the Wayzata Chilly Open and altered the American Birkebeiner ski race.
  • The absence of ice and snow is affecting local economies, mental health, farming moisture reserves, and Indigenous community traditions.

Key quote:

“Last year, we had record amounts of snow and this year we’re at record low snow. So it’s a pretty stark contrast. There’s barely any snow on the ground. It’s unseasonably warm.”

— Natalie Chin, climate and tourism outreach specialist at the Wisconsin Sea Grant program

Why this matters:

Climate change is altering traditional lifestyles. This situation exemplifies the broader, tangible impacts of warming temperatures on local communities and economies.

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