The U.S. ‘warming hole’—a climate anomaly explained
A wavy jet stream, air pollution, and changes to the landscape are all theories for why the Southeast has warmed less than other parts of the planet.
In approximately 1958, as climate change began to warm the rest of the world, something odd happened in the southeastern United States: It began to cool.
Between 1895 and 2016, the average U.S. temperature has risen by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the last National Climate Assessment, with much of that warming coming after 1970. Yet in the second half of the 20th century, the hot, muggy Southeast bucked this trend, cooling by as much as a degree. Scientists call it the “warming hole”—and they don’t know exactly why or how it formed.
“This has been having scientists scratch their heads for a long time,” says Barry Keim, the Louisiana State Climatologist. “There’s been no explanation I have