Sudden Shift: How Our Warming Climate Impacts You

The climate is warming. 2023 was once again the warmest year on record globally, the 5th warmest nationally, and 4th warmest locally. There is consensus about that in the scientific community and growing assurance in the general population. 

New polling data from Yale shows A majority of American’s believe Global Warming is Happening, over 70%.

A similar majority, also believe Global Warming will harm future generations

But when asked if it will harm them personally, there is more doubt, only 45% said yes.

Hottest Years on Record

The changes we are seeing now, are just a small preview of the greater impacts to come. This year, while the warmest on record now, will be one of the coolest in your lifetime. There is an increased urgency to do more, to plan, adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change, because if we do nothing, it will only get worse.

A Sudden Shift: How Our Warming Climate Impacts You. An ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather special report. Aims to show you that those problems for future generations are already happening, and a discussion of how to plan for living in a warmer climate. Click on the links in each section, this is a resource you can come back to.  

Warmer Winters

Winter 2024 is Currently the 2nd warmest winter on record, Warmer than last winter, the least snowy in South Bend since 1950.


Since 1970 more record warm records have been set than record cold

The comments on social media, there are often more groans than cheers for snow and cold.

Winter is the fastest warming season, not summer for much of the country. But not having winter has an impact.

Spring Planting Zones

Spring means planting time in the Midwest, where agriculture is big business.

Did you ever wonder why we’re in the corn belt? Besides rich soils and flat land, The climate of the past 100 years regularly offered good growing conditions. But what if that climate changes?

More extremes in precipitation, like last June and July are becoming more frequent.

Higher temperatures will be another stressor on crops, and farmers, picking the right variety of seed. To match.

Summer Water Woes

Our area is known for lakes, according to the Indiana DNR there are over 250 inland lakes in Northern Indiana alone.

Many people enjoy the lake life at some point over the summer. You probably don’t think much besides -- ‘how cold is the water?’ -- before you jump-in.

But that’s starting to change. You may need to check the water quality for harmful organisms, before you swim.

 by IDEM

Fall Heating And Cooling

I love fall weather, and I know I'm not alone. My favorite part or the season is that sweet spot where I don’t have to run my air conditioning or my heat.

South Bend Heating Degree Days with Trend Line by Data ACIS / NOAA

Since 1970 the average number of heating degree days has dropped significantly

A Heating Degree Day is a measure of heating demand based on the temperature.

As the climate warms your heating bill may go down, that’s an impact

In contrast though, the demand for air conditioning is expected to increase.

Power Policy

If we want to lessen the worst impacts of climate change, giant leaps are needed. To even come close to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, where your power comes from, mattes.

The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows nationally 60 percent of the electricity generated comes from fossil fuels. In Indiana it’s over 80 percent!

To cut carbon, this has to change. To get there, will require policy action on a national and local scale. it's a conversation we all need to have about power policy.

Deep Dive into the Data

Interview with Jared Rennie, a Research Meteorologist with Climatic Science and Services Division (CSSD) at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).  

Jared works with large data sets collected from all ground sensors, buoys satellites and more worldwide. Instead of looking forward he looks backwards to quantify the significance of change in weather over time, the climate record.  

Local Climate Impact

All this, and there still are issues with heavy rain and flooding, we've done two special reports on the subject. After our two historic flood events. 

2017 -- Climate change and extreme rainfall a growing concern for Michiana

2020 -- Washed Away 


Share this article: