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Summer in March

2012/03/27

Those of you who pay close attention to details may have noticed that this is my second post of the day.  It’s not my usual M.O., but, I have a long list of subjects I want to write about.  Plus, I’ve had some additional free time today: schools in Prince Edward Island are closed for the day due to a weather system that has brought snow and strong winds to our little island.  Such winter storms at this time of the year are not unheard of: spring tends to hit P.E.I. relatively late and normal temperatures are between 4 and -4 degrees Celsius.

However, last week was a completely different story.

Last week, a large chunk of North America (including P.E.I.) was in the middle of a heat wave the likes of which we have never seen.  And that’s not just a figure of speech.  According to Dr. Jeff Master of the Weather Channel, “There have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period.”  Dr. Masters published a statistical analysis in which he concluded “It is highly unlikely the warmth of the current ‘Summer in March’ heat wave could have occurred unless the climate was warming.”

How warm was it?  Here are some crazy numbers for you to chew on…

– From March 1 through March 22, over 6,000 daily record highs were broken in the US.

– Chicago, Ill. set record highs eight days in a row.

– On Wednesday, March 21, Pellston, MI, broke a record high by 17 degrees Celsius. (That’s not a typo.  They broke their record by 17 degrees!)

– Also on the 21st, in Marquette, MI, the low temperature beat the previous record high.

– Many Canadian cities broke all-time March temperature records: Ottawa (27.4 degrees C), Montreal (25.8 degrees C), Windsor (27.8 degrees C), Hamilton (25.6 degrees C), and the list goes on…

– St. John, New Brunswick, actually broke its all-time April record for warmth in March, with 25.4 degrees C.

The following video, from the US Weather Channel, briefly summarizes the heat wave.  It also includes a meteorologist who has “seen the light”.

Finally, the most impressive (or scariest) fact about this heat wave is that in the US, for the month of March, the ratio of heat records to cold records is 35 to 1.  In other words, for every cold record that has been broken in the US during the month of March, 35 heat records have been broken.  For the year to date, that ratio is 20 to 1.

And here is the scary part: If the climate was not warming, the ratio would be very near 1:1.

Keep in mind that the world has only warmed by less than a degree Celsius since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  If we do nothing about our carbon emissions, the planet is on track to warm by five times that this century.  Isn’t it time we get our collective head out of the sand?

Source: Climate Progress

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Food Forays permalink
    2012/03/28 10:09 am

    I live in a Northern Ontario community, and we celebrated temps as high as 26C. We had a week in April last year that was uncannily warm, but I’ve NEVER in 40 years seen temps that high in Mid-March.
    For those trying to deny that global warming exists, I wonder what their explanations are for the insanity in weather? How do they justify it to themselves? Wait a moment… now that I’ve taken the time to type those questions, I don’t even WANT an answer. What exactly will it take?
    *Shared using your G+ button!*

    • 2012/03/28 2:55 pm

      For some, it will never be enough proof. Some will say “it’s normal variations in weather”, while others will argue that the climate is changing, but it’s natural. Except there is nothing other than the greenhouse effect that explains what we are going through.

      By the way, I think I need a lesson in googgle+…

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