Salem State University: New England Climate Change Faster than Average

Did Salem miss a few witches? According to Salem State University and UMass-Amherst, New England has already experienced greater than 1.5C warming.

Study: New England warming faster than the rest of the world

Every season is affected, authors say


A troubling new report on climate change warns that New England is warming faster than the rest of the planet and that the rapid changes will threaten elements of the regional economy. 

In a paper published earlier this month by the journal Climate, authors affiliated with Salem State University and UMass-Amherst analyzed the temperature averages for each state individually and the region as a whole.

They found that temperatures in the area have increased more than 1.5-degrees-celsius from 1900 to 2020. 

“This warming is diminishing the distinctive four-season climate of New England, resulting in changes to the region’s ecology and threatening the rural economies throughout the region,” the authors wrote.

Read more:

The abstract of the paper;

Overall Warming with Reduced Seasonality: Temperature Change in New England, USA, 1900–2020 

by Stephen S. Young 1,* and Joshua S. Young 21Geography and Sustainability Department, School of Arts & Sciences, Salem State University, Salem, MA 01970, USA2Department of Linguistics, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Academic Editor: Chiara Bertolin

Climate20219(12), 176;

Received: 4 November 2021 / Revised: 2 December 2021 / Accepted: 2 December 2021 / Published: 6 December 2021


The ecology, economy, and cultural heritage of New England is grounded in its seasonal climate, and this seasonality is now changing as the world warms due to human activity. This research uses temperature data from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) to analyze annual and seasonal temperature changes in the New England region of the United States from 1900 to 2020 at the regional and state levels. Results show four broad trends: (1) New England and each of the states (annually and seasonally) have warmed considerably between 1900 and 2020; (2) all of the states and the region as a whole show three general periods of change (warming, cooling, and then warming again); (3) the winter season is experiencing the greatest warming; and (4) the minimum temperatures are generally warming more than the average and maximum temperatures, especially since the 1980s. The average annual temperature (analyzed at the 10-year and the five-year average levels) for every state, and New England as a whole, has increased greater than 1.5 °C from 1900 to 2020. This warming is diminishing the distinctive four-season climate of New England, resulting in changes to the region’s ecology and threatening the rural economies throughout the region.

Read more:

New Englanders are historically kindof sensitive about bad weather. Some people believe unusually cold years and poor harvests kicked off the infamous Salem witch trials.

Did Cold Weather Cause the Salem Witch Trials?

By Natalie Wolchover published April 21, 2012

Historical records indicate that, worldwide, witch hunts occur more often during cold periods, possibly because people look for scapegoats to blame for crop failures and general economic hardship. Fitting the pattern, scholars argue that cold weather may have spurred the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692.

The theory, first laid out by the economist Emily Oster in her senior thesis at Harvard University eight years ago, holds that the most active era of witchcraft trials in Europe coincided with a 400- year period of lower-than-average temperature known to climatologists as the “little ice age.” Oster, now an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago, showed that as the climate varied from year to year during this cold period, lower temperatures correlated with higher numbers of witchcraft accusations.

The correlation may not be surprising, Oster argued, in light of textual evidence from the period: popes and scholars alike clearly believed witches were capable of controlling the weather, and therefore, crippling food production.

The Salem witch trials fell within an extreme cold spell that lasted from 1680 and 1730 — one of the chilliest segments of the little ice age. The notion that weather may have instigated those trials is being revived by Salem State University historian Tad Baker in his forthcoming book, “A Storm of Witchcraft” (Oxford University Press, 2013). Building on Oster’s thesis, Baker has found clues in diaries and sermons that suggest a harsh New England winter really may have set the stage for accusations of witchcraft.

Read more:

The study authors mainly seem concerned about pests surviving winter and disruptions to the ecology of the region. In my opinion these fears are overblown.

Agricultural sprays can handle economically damaging pests – New England could import some bug spray from places which already experience mild winters.

As for temperature changes, cold weather is a much bigger threat than warm.

Tropical Queensland grows vast quantities of temperate climate produce like strawberries, Maine potatoes, along with tropical produce like sugar cane and pineapples, in a much warmer climate than the Northern states of the USA. Aussie farmers compensate for the much warmer Queensland climate by adjusting their planting times to maximise yield.

Weather which is too cold is more difficult to manage. If it is too cold for crops to grow, expensive interventions like covering fields with plastic or smudge pots to drive back the frost can help, but ultimately cold is the real crop killer.

via Watts Up With That?

January 3, 2022 at 04:21PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s