The first week of the new year has seen temperatures that are in some parts of the nation nearly 40 degrees higher than average. Which is crazy.
Brad Johnson has a good roundup of the different record-breaking high temperatures across the nation over Think Progress Green: "Fueled by billions of tons of greenhouse pollution, a surge of record warmth has flooded the United States, shattering records from southern California to North Dakota. 'Temperatures have reached up to 40 degrees above early January averages in North Dakota,' the Weather Channel reports."
That's insane. A 40 degrees difference is a couple season's worth of temperature change! It's the difference between winter and summer in many places. And it's not just a handful of anomalies, either. I spent the last week in Southern California, where record highs are hitting the books as well – and I can tell you, working outdoors on a balcony, in a t-shirt, on January 5th, was strange indeed. One day earlier in the week, it was in the 80s when I called my girlfriend in New York, where temps were apparently hitting 10˚F.
Sure enough, records were broken in CA as well: "Southern California, decades-old records were snapped with 80- and even 90-degree weather, sending surfers to the beaches. Long Beach hit 88 degrees, UCLA hit 89 degrees, San Diego hit 83 degrees, and San Gabriel reached 91."
The Weather Channel describes the phenomenon thusly: "Welcome to the winter of 2011-2012 - so far it will be known as the winter without snow and the winter of little cold air.
We can, of course, expect to see more records like these broken again in coming years, as unrestrained greenhouse emissions worldwide continue to fuel the advance of climate change.