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Weather Talk: Climate change suggests different past climate

Most people probably do not think much about a changing climate. However, climate research suggests this region has had dramatically different weather in the relatively recent past.

Twelve thousand years ago, our region was frozen; still covered by a glacier. As the ice melted around eleven thousand years ago, what we now call home was underneath the waters of glacial meltwater called Lake Agassiz. Around eight thousand years ago, Lake Agassiz drained away and the Red River Valley was exposed. However, permanent high pressure over the retreating glacier north of here would have meant generally dry winters with lots of wind and temperatures colder than today. Summers were generally sunny and windy with temperatures much hotter than our present climate. There would have been little vegetation on the ground and lots of blowing dirt.

After about four hundred years of this, the continued glacial retreat would have pulled the high further northward allowing enough summer rainfall to sustain grass.

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