A historical look at climate change’s impact on Maine’s temperatures

This is how climate change has impacted Maine’s average temperatures, causing unpredictability along the way.
A trail covered in snow
While short days and cold temperatures can drive people indoors, time in wintry scenes – like this one in the Midcoast – can restore their spirits in the depths of a dark winter. Photo courtesy of Christopher Lyman.

With summer behind us and the official start to winter around the corner, The Maine Monitor is taking a historical look at just how unpredictable Maine’s winters and summers can be, and how climate change is having an impact on the coastal state.

First, we begin with a historical look at the average winter temperature in Maine between the months of December and February.

The average winter temperature in 1895 was 14.9 degrees. A century later, in 1995, the average temperature was 15.9 degrees.

Perhaps the most dramatic stretch came in the early 1930s when the average plummeted from 21.6 in 1932 to 7.9 a year later, before rising to 20.5 in 1936.

Recent averages have fluctuated, climbing to 24.4 in 2015 before dropping to 16.9 in 2018, reaching 20.4 in 2020 and falling slightly to 18.2 last year.


Now, let’s see the historical look at the average August temperature in Maine, which started at 61.6 degrees in 1895 before ticking slightly upwards to 64.9 a century later.

Since 2005, the average August temperature has crept higher and lower at varying times, starting with 65.5 in 2005 before dipping to 61.7 the next summer.

After reaching 67.4 in 2012, summers cooled in Maine during 2017 when the average was 63.3. The trend of fluctuation continued as the average hit 68 a year later, in 2018, before plummeting once more in 2019 to 64.5.

This summer’s average of 67.4 is down slightly from last year’s average of 68.3.


Xiaoxi Ma

Xiaoxi Ma is a second-year journalism graduate student at Northeastern University with a focus on data, data visualization and interactive storytelling.

George Harvey

George Harvey is the Multimedia Editor for The Maine Monitor. He oversees digital and newsletter production, coordinates social media content and shares the work of The Maine Monitor’s staff writers and contributors with media partners around the state. George previously worked in athletics administration, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University.
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