Panorama of downtown Buffalo

In the News: Vermette Discusses Buffalo as 'Climate Refuge'


Stephen Vermette, professor of geosciences, recently spoke with CNN’s chief climate correspondent Bill Wei for the segment “This City Rarely Reaches 100 Degrees. It Is Now Considered a ‘Climate Refuge,’” filmed partly on the Buffalo State campus.

As global warming continues to threaten cities around the world, Buffalo, with its temperate summers and freshwater Great Lakes, has labeled itself a safe haven in the face of worsening climate change.

Vermette, who has conducted extensive research on area climate records, said that although Buffalo has its share of severe snowstorms—the blizzards of ’22, ’85, ’77, and ’36, for example—the weather has remained relatively consistent over time. Temperatures rarely reach 100 degrees, even during the hottest months. 

“Snow amounts have remained steady,” Vermette said, with no increase in droughts or floods. 

This environmental stability is predicted to draw more “climate migrants” to the region as weather continues to destabilize elsewhere over time.

“I’m not saying that [Buffalo’s] severe weather is going to disappear,” Vermette said. “But it doesn’t seem to be getting worse. And that’s the key here.”