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In a 2021 report commissioned by Gov. Tony Evers, scientists at the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts concluded that the state is getting warmer, “especially in the winter.”

The partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the state Department of Natural Resources found that “warming is happening fastest in the winter and at night.”

Winter warming is most apparent in northern Wisconsin, where temperatures are up 4-6 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950. Researchers also found fewer extreme cold periods below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter temperatures are also expected to increase an additional 5 to 11 degrees by 2050, “meaning winters will be milder, about one month shorter than they are today, and will produce about 14 fewer inches of snow,” according to the DNR.

Warmer winters are expected to impact forest ecosystems, farmers and seasonal sports such as skiing.


Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts: 2021 Assessment Report: Wisconsin’s Changing Climate

PBS Wisconsin: Wisconsin climate change research confirms impacts of warming winter nights

Wisconsin DNR: The Science of Climate Change

Post Crescent: As Wisconsin’s climate gets warmer and wetter, beloved winter activities could be in jeopardy

Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.