The United States' fourth hottest winter on the books has just been followed up with record-breaking temperatures across the nation in March. Here's Reuters:
Last month was the warmest March on record across half of the United States with summer-like temperatures ... Forecasters predicted April could be another warmer-than-normal month, though they said temperatures were likely to fluctuate in a more seasonal pattern in the first half of the month and that fewer records would be shattered.Strangely, the Reuters report never mentions global warming or climate change, but does note that the hotter than usual temps are "providing some welcome news to the country's farmers and clothing retailers."However, Joe Romm explains elsewhere how this news fits into the bigger climatic picture:
Accuweather.com said cities in more than 25 states, as well Washington, D.C., broke records for average daily temperatures last month, including Chicago, Oklahoma City, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and Detroit.
The final data is in for the unprecedented March heat wave that was “unmatched in recorded history” for the U.S. (and Canada). New heat records swamped cold records by the stunning ratio of 35.3 to 1. This ratio is almost off the charts ... For the year to date, new heat records are beating cold records by 22 to 1, which trumps the pace of the last decade by more than a factor of 10!And for those not familiar with the reason such ratios are important in understanding how extreme temperatures relate to climate change, Romm lays it out:
"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. A 2009 analysis shows that the average ratio for the 2000s was 2.04-to-1, a sharp increase from previous decades. Lead author Dr. Gerald Meehl explained, “If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even.”In other words, since there were so many more hottest-ever days than cold ones recorded in March, we can use that data to discern a trend where similar phenomena have been observed in previous months.
Or, to simplify: We're breaking a hell of a lot more heat records than cold ones, and this March was no exception.