Climate Change us_heat_records_2012

Published on March 20th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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14 to 1: 2012 Heat Records to Cold Records in U.S. (1,000s of Heat Records Set in One Week)

March 20th, 2012 by

 
If you don’t live in one of the thousands of places that hat heat records in recent weeks, here’s some news for you: it is MUCH warmer than it should be. At the end of last week, Think Progress reported:

Fueled by hundreds of billions of tons of carbon pollution, this March is broiling the United States with heat and humidity. Over 1000 records for daily high temperatures have been shattered in a heat wave that stretches from coast to coast, and 675 records for rainfall withflooding precipitation. In total, the past week has seen 2600 records broken, with record highs outpacing record lows by a ratio of 17 to 1, HAMweather records:

Joe Romm of Climate Progress writes:

This year, U.S. heat records have been outnumbering cold records by a stunning amount — 14-to-1 (19-to-1 in March) – as this chart from Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate makes clear:

"Monthly ratio of daily high temperature to low temperature records set in the U.S. for every month of 2011 and the first half of March, seasonal ratio for summer and fall 2011, winter 2011-2012 to date, and annual ratio for 2011 and 2012, data from NOAA."

I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming. If you want to know the historical ratios, see the 2009 analysis, “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.,” which shows that the average ratio for the 2000s was 2.04-to-1, a sharp increase from previous decades. Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), explained, “If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even.”

As Jason Samenow of the Capital Weather Gang notes, this week saw truly “Historic record warm weather“:

“Temperatures more characteristic of June have broken hundreds of temperature records over the last several days and promise to continue into the next week in many areas. In some places, temperatures have been an eye-popping 30-40 degrees above normal, nearing or surpassing the warmest temperatures ever recorded so early in the season.

Since Sunday, an amazing 943 new record highs have been broken or tied across the U.S. compared to just 9 record lows

Global cooling? Me thinks not.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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