MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee summer temperatures are on the rise. The overall warming trend means if nothing changes Wisconsin is going to start to feel different.
Youa Vang grows vegetables to sell at the Fondy Farmers Market at 2200 W. Fond Du Lac Ave. in Milwaukee. She has been growing food her whole life and says the weather is everything when it comes to having a large enough crop to make a profit. So far this year she says it hasn't been too bad but the last couple of years have been warm.
"Sometimes very hot and sometimes very dry,” said Vang.
Our summers have been getting hotter in Milwaukee and in the state over the past few decades, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Meteorologist Jordan Gerth.
He says there are two main drivers: an increase in carbon monoxide and something called the urban heat island.
“The amount of heat that is retained by buildings and infrastructure and to some extent it doesn't allow a greater degree of cooling during the nighttime hours compared to other rural areas,” said Gerth.
TMJ4 Meteorologist Kristen Kirchhaine says already Milwaukee's average summer high has risen by a couple of degrees.
"So if we look at again those recent data set, if we look back from the 1980s to 2010 versus the 1990s to 2020 when have seen nearly a two-degree increase in the temperature in the summer in Milwaukee,” said Kirchhaine.
"I think when we look back and this year we're going to see another year that was hotter than normal, which is all too commonly said now,” said Gerth. “And what some modeling has been showing is that we add about one 90-degree day every other year."
So what does adding another 90-degree day turn into? According to Climate Central, a non-profit which tracks climate issues, the feeling of Wisconsin is going to change if that continues. It says the way the summer is warming by 2060, the summer in Green Bay will feel more like the summer in Roanoke, Virginia, and by 2100 Green Bay's summers will feel more like Fayetteville, South Carolina.
Gerth says those degrees don't just mean we might be spending more to run our AC but that people like Vang and other farmers might be changing what they grow.
"Farmers have to adjust what crops they're planting when they're planting and when they're harvesting them to maximize their yield,” said Gerth.