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1/15/2008

Northeast winters warming fast

ALBANY, N.Y. - Earlier blooms. Less snow to shovel. Unseasonable warm spells. Signs that winters in the Northeast are losing their bite have been abundant in recent years and now researchers have nailed down numbers to show just how big the changes have been.

A study of weather station data from across the Northeast from 1965 through 2005 found December-March temperatures increased by 2.5 degrees. Snowfall totals dropped by an average of 8.8 inches across the region over the same period, and the number of days with at least 1 inch of snow on the ground decreased by nine days on average.

"Winter is warming greater than any other season," said Elizabeth Burakowski, who analyzed data from dozens of stations for her master's thesis in collaboration with Cameron Wake, a professor at the University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space.

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