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A Summary Analysis of the Winter of 2023
Michigan Ag Connection - 03/31/2023

The 2022-2023 winter in many ways could be described as volatile or perhaps even abnormal in terms of temperatures. When someone mentions a mild winter, they are often referring to average temperatures being higher than normal measured against historical trends in a region. The term “mild winter” can be subjective to each person. However, there is data that we can analyze to determine how this winter compares with past winters. The goal of this weather analysis is for agricultural professionals to use this information to make informed decisions about this upcoming production year. Weather-related analysis is particularly useful for forecasting potential integrated pest management and pathogen challenges in crop production.

Michigan State University Extension has a weather analysis tool called MSU Enviroweather. Utilizing MSU Enviroweather, we can look at the summary of temperatures at various weather stations positioned throughout the Great Lakes region. For this example, we are using the Entrican weather station located in Montcalm County, Michigan. The graphs below show a comparison of temperatures between 2022 and 2023 during the time period of Jan. 1 – March 1.

Winter 2023 thus far has a higher concentration and tighter spread of data points in the 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit range when compared with 2022, especially throughout January. Temperatures in 2023 were also more volatile with a sudden drop in low temperatures in late January.

The minimum temperature average, maximum temperature average, and average overall temperatures for this period are listed below for each year. The average minimum temperature of this period in 2023 is 12.3 F warmer than in 2022. The average maximum temperature is 6.4 F warmer than in 2022. Finally, the average temperature in 2023 during this period summary is 9.4 F higher compared to this period in 2022. This year, most cities in Michigan had anywhere between the third warmest and seventh warmest January on record.


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