We often complain about how long our winters are here in Minnesota, but one major part of our Minnesota winter tradition has been shrinking.
There's no doubt that winter is still a thing here in the North Star State. The temperature still drops each fall, our precipitation turns from rain to snow-- sometimes in October, like in 2020-- and the days get shorter.
But one major part of a typical Minnesota winter is slowly being chipped away. That's the word from a new report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Resources (DNR) which says Minnesota's lake ice season has been shrinking and is now about two weeks shorter than it used to be back in the '60s and '70s.
In fact, the report says our lake ice season in the Land of 10,000 Not-Frozen-As-Much Lakes has decreased by an average of 14 days during the last 50 years or so. The culprit behind our shorter ice season? Climate change.
Since 1967, ice-in dates have been about nine days later on average, while ice-out dates have been about four to five days earlier. That means two weeks of lost ice coverage for ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and other winter activities on Minnesota lakes.
The report also noted that water temperatures on Minnesota's lakes have been warming over that same period, as well. "Compared to 50 years ago, the average July-August surface water temperatures on Minnesota lakes are 3.0 – 3.9 degrees warmer," the report noted.
And that's not a good thing for our lakes, in the winter-- or summer. "Aside from causing shorter ice seasons, rising water temperatures contribute to increasing reports of toxic blue-green algae blooms, which thrive in temperatures 75 degrees and warmer," the report said.
Another thing that has changed during the winter is the hot toys of the holiday season. Do you remember what was big when you were a kid? Keep scrolling to check out the top holiday toys from the year you were born!