Perhaps this year's abnormally warm weather is obvious to TreeHugger readers residing in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states, but there are some new stats backing up that feeling.
Huffington Post reports that the January through July period this year in New England, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia has had an average temperature of 49.9°F, the warmest since records began in 1895. That's 0.5°F warmer than the average temperature in 1921, now the second-warmest year on record for the region.Though the piece quotes Kathy Vreeland of the Northeast Regional Climate Center making the usual caveat regarding the connection between climate change and this record-breaking warmth—that it could be climate change, or just an anomalous series of years—recently published research and comment from esteemed climatologist James Hansen leans towards such qualified speech being unnecessary.
Though Hansen says it's too early to explicitly blame this year's heat, drought and extreme weather on climate change, as the data is not complete, analysis of heat waves over the past several decades squarely places the blame for those on global warming.
Hansen's team's research shows that from 1981 to 2010 extreme heat covered 50-100 times more of the Earth's surface than during the previous thirty year period.
UPDATE: New data from NOAA shows that July was the hottest month on record for the US. With just under two-thirds of the nation in drought, the average temperature for July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F higher than the 20th century average.