Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'The Trend Is Unmistakable': New Analysis Shows Heat Records Broken Twice as Often as Cold Ones

Climate
'The Trend Is Unmistakable': New Analysis Shows Heat Records Broken Twice as Often as Cold Ones
Pexels

By Jessica Corbett

A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.


The study was conducted by The Associated Press, which reviewed nearly a century's worth of data and spoke with climatologists who confirmed the reporters' conclusions about more frequent hot days and fewer cold ones align with scientific peer-reviewed findings. According to the experts, "the trend is unmistakable."

"We are in a period of sustained and significant warming," said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, "and — over the long run — will continue to explore and break the warm end of the spectrum much more than the cold end."

Outlining its research and findings, the news agency reported:

The AP looked at 424 weather stations throughout the Lower 48 states that had consistent temperature records since 1920 and counted how many times daily hot temperature records were tied or broken and how many daily cold records were set. In a stable climate, the numbers should be roughly equal.
Since 1999, the ratio has been two warm records set or broken for every cold one. In 16 of the last 20 years, there have been more daily high temperature records than low...

In all, 87 percent of the weather stations had more hot records than cold since 1999. There have been 42 weather stations that have at least five hot records for every cold one since 1999, with 11 where the hot-to-cold ratio is 10-to-1 or higher.

"As a measure of climate change, the dailies [temperature records] will tell you more about what's happening," explained Stanford climate scientist Chris Field. "The impacts of climate change almost always come packaged in extremes."

"You are getting more extremes," added former Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton, who has been studying hot and cold records since 2000. "Your chances for getting more dangerous extremes are going up with time."

The AP report illustrates a vital point that can become muddled in conversations about weather and climate — especially when people such as President Donald Trump repeatedly cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human activity is driving global temperature rise, imperiling future generations of all species and the planet.

Global warming does not mean there will never be cold weather — but if the international community stays on its business-as-usual path of burning fossil fuels and polluting the planet with reckless abandon, the likeliness of extremely cold days will continue to decline. And, whether the weather is cold or hot on any given day, as Arndt noted, "The extremes affect our lives."

The analysis comes as the Midwestern United States is enduring "biblical" and "catastrophic" flooding and while regions of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are still reeling from the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai, whose death toll is expected to exceed 1,000 people. From cyclones and hurricanes to droughts and wildfires, study after study continues to show that human-caused global warming is making extreme weather more common and costly, both in terms of dollar signs and human lives.

The mounting devastation does seem to have an upside, though: A growing number of people are concerned about the climate crisis, and those worries have generated mounting demands for bold efforts to cut emissions and enact systemic changes. Just last week, more than 1.4 million students around the worldvskipped school to participate in a climate strike, inspired by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg.

"We need to start cooperating and sharing the remaining resources of this planet in a fair way. We need to start living within the planetary boundaries, focus on equity and take a few steps back for the sake of all living species," Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden, wrote on Sunday in a Facebook post targeting adults and policymakers.

"We are just passing on the words of the science," she added. "Our only demand is that you start listening to it. And then start acting."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Florida Wildlife Federation / NBC2News / YouTube

In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Imagesines / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.

When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Fossil fuel companies received $110 billion in direct and indirect financial assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, including up to $15.2 billion in direct federal relief. Andrew Hart /

By Bret Wilkins

In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.

Read More Show Less
Flint corn is an example of pre-contact food. Elenathewise / Getty Images

By Ashia Aubourg

As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.

Read More Show Less

By Alex Middleton

Losing weight and reducing fat is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, there are fat burner supplements that help you gain your target body and goal. However, how would you know which supplement is right for you?

Read More Show Less