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March Heat Wave Is One Of The Most Extreme Heat Events In US History

NOAA temperature map

The ongoing March heat wave being experienced in the Midwest Untied States is one of the most extreme heat events in U.S history, Jeff Masters of Weather Underground has reported.

Many historical records have been broken throughout the event, including a 94°F day in Winner, South Dakota, and a 79°F in International Falls, Minnesota. Chicago weather has involved five straight days of temperatures above 80°F.  The city has experienced the hottest temperature on record for so early in the year – 82°F on both Friday and Saturday. To give an indication of how extreme this is, the average temperature in August in Chicago is 82°F.

Masters said that while the blocking pattern responsible for the heat wave is natural, “it is very unlikely that the intensity of the heat would have been so great unless we were in a warming climate. He points out that eminent climate scientist Dr. James Hansen from N.A.S.A. has written recently about recent occurrences of more intense heat waves, in relation to the summer heat waves in both Texas and Moscow (see our recent post James Hansen Warns ‘Climate Dice’ Loaded For Extreme Weather Events).

Even President Obama, not being one lately to talk much at all about climate change, has admitted being “a little nervous” about the March heat wave, while at a fundraiser in Chicago hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Obama stated,

“It’s warm every place. It gets you a little nervous about what’s happening to global temperatures. But when it’s 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March it gets you thinking…”

“Something’s wrong,” Oprah interrupted.

“Yeah,” Obama said. “On other hand we really have enjoyed the nice weather.”

What do you make of this unseasonably warm weather in the United States? Nothing to be concerned about, or yet more evidence we are on a dangerous path?

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