We know, we know: Discussing the weather can be, well, a bit boring. But with so many record-breaking temperatures recorded around the country this winter and spring, the unseasonably warm weather deserves to be a topic of conversation. And it wasn’t just March — the first three months of 2012 were 6 degrees higher than average in the lower 48 states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As nice as it is to dust off that tank top in February, the warming trend is a serious cause for concern.
The record-shattering temperatures from March have dominated the headlines, because across the US more than 15,000 warm temperature records were set or tied, and every single US state set a daily temperature record during the month. With an average of 51.1 degrees Fahrenheit in the US, last month was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average, according to NOAA. Only January 2006 saw a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.
But March wasn’t the only month that had meteorologists and climate scientists reaching for the record books. The first three months of 2012 broke the previous January-March record by a whopping 1.4 degrees. “Everybody has this uneasy feeling,” climate scientist Jerry Meehl told the Associated Press. “This is weird. This is not good.”
Indeed, it isn’t good. Extreme temperatures tend to lead to natural disasters, and this year’s warm weather coincided with serious drought covering large portions of the American West and Southwest, and there have already been 223 reported tornadoes in the country, which have caused serious property damage and claimed at least 40 lives.