• Ian Sutton

Weather/Climate in Central Virginia

Updated: Mar 23


Temperatures for Virginia in the year 2020

One of the difficulties to do with communicating climate change is that the topic often seems to be physically remote. We hear about polar bears in the Arctic, coral reefs in Australia and rising sea levels a decade or two from now. But, for many people, life does not seem to be impacted all that much by climate change in a day to day sense. The topic feels rather remote.


Climate Change in Central Virginia

I live in central Virginia, which has a temperate climate. The climate does not seem to be changing much. Yet even here the climate is gradually changing. It is gradually becoming warmer and wetter.


To track these changes I regularly clip weather articles written by John Boyer of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This week’s example (shown above) is an article that has two headlines:

  • 2020 was the wettest year for 45 Va. counties and cities

  • 2020 was the hottest year for 35 Va. counties and cities

(Va. is an abbreviation for Virginia.)


Other newspaper clippings in the same series are,

No Snow

For the children in the area, maybe the biggest change is the lack of snow. We used to get at least one major snowstorm each winter. But there was no significant snow last year, and this winter looks as if it is going to be snow-free.

snow central virginia

From Weather to Climate

Another difficulty to do with communicating climate change is that it is difficult to distinguish between climate and weather. Long-term trends can be hidden by short-term variations. However, when we look at articles such as those listed above the trends become apparent. The climate is central Virginia is getting warmer and wetter., suggesting that these weather events are part of a larger climate change picture.

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