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Minnesota is warmer and wetter

Minnesota’s climate has become much warmer and wetter in the past several decades; the top ten warmest and wettest years since 1895 occurred between 1998 and 2017. Since 1970, nights have warmed 55% faster than days, and winter has warmed 13 times faster than summer. The frequency of -35F readings in northern Minnesota and -25F readings in the south have fallen by up to 90%. Minnesota is also experiencing more frequent and intense rainstorms than at any other time on record. The number of one-inch and three-inch rains, and the size of the heaviest annual rainfall have all increased dramatically.

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Graph and analyze year-to-year climate variations and trends in Minnesota

ICAT 2017 Report

Temperature trends in the US, from the 4th National Climate Assessment (2017)

Minnesota Monthly Temperature Anomalies

Minnesota’s Historic Mega-Rains


Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 calls for reducing annual GHG emissions by 80% between 2005 and 2050, with interim goals of 15% by 2015 and 30% by 2025. While we’ve made progress, achieving the 2050 goal will require much more aggressive state and federal policies. Fortunately, Minnesota is in a position to lead the efforts.

Minnesota’s GHG reductions

GHG emissions from power generation have fallen dramatically in Minnesota, so the state has started focusing on other reduction opportunities. For example, transportation is now the largest contributor to GHG emissions, so Minnesota is supporting efforts by utilities, auto manufacturers, and other partners to expand electric vehicle use. Money from Minnesota’s share of the Volkswagen legal settlement is being used to create fast-charging electric vehicle corridors throughout Minnesota and to incentivize the purchase of heavy-duty hybrid and electric vehicles. Individual Minnesotans, their communities, and our industries are working together to become more energy efficient, increase renewable energy production, and reduce our dependence on imported energy.


Climate change driving population decline

Minnesota has about 650 cisco lakes, more than any other state in the lower 48. Many are prized by anglers because ciscoes (also known as tulibees, or lake herring in Lake Superior) provide a high-energy feast for walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, and lake trout. Changes in land use and climate have led to declines in cisco populations in the past 30 years. Cisco fish can’t tolerate warm water — 76 degrees is lethal and 54 degrees is optimal—so they need to stay deep in the warmer months. But in late summer when water near the surface is too warm, the water near the bottom has too little oxygen. Ciscoes become trapped in a narrow band — sometimes only a few feet — of habitat, which leads to die-offs.