Scientists caution against attributing any specific weather pattern to climate change, but nonetheless warn it will bring more extremes.
“Everybody has this uneasy feeling. This is weird. This is not good,” Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told The Associated Press about this year’s warm weather.
The United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a March report said there have been rising incidences of extreme weather over the last 60 years.
“It is very likely that there has been an overall decrease in the number of cold days and nights, and an overall increase in the number of warm days and nights, at the global scale, that is, for most land areas with sufficient data. It is likely that these changes have also occurred at the continental scale in North America, Europe, and Australia,” the report noted.
Looking forward, the IPCC report noted that “Models project substantial warming in temperature extremes by the end of the 21st century.”
“It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur in the 21st century at the global scale,” the IPCC stated.
The 8.6 degree U.S. deviation from the average in March represents the second-largest in temperature records dating back to the late 1800s, according to NOAA. January of 2006 still represents the largest deviation from a monthly average.
Beyond the month-long average, March also saw more than 15,000 individual temperature records broken.
“A persistent weather pattern during the month led to 25 states east of the Rockies having their warmest March on record. An additional 15 states had monthly temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. That same pattern brought cooler-than-average conditions to the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, and California,” NOAA states.