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It’s Obscenely Hot: June 2011 Heat Records Crush Cold Records by Nearly 11 to 1

by on July 7, 2011

Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate analyzed the data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and found U.S. heat records in June outnumbered cold records by 2706 to 251 — nearly 11 to 1:

Monthly total number of daily high temperature and low temperature records set in the U.S. for June 2010 through June 2011, data from NOAA.

I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming.  If you want to know how to judge whether the near 11-to-1 ratio is a big deal, see “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.

As for global temperatures, the anti-science crowd had been crowing that this year’s big La Niña — which they called a “Super La Niña” — would drive temperatures way, way down.  But even the satellite datasets, which are more sensitive to the El Niño Southern oscillation, show that how modest and short-lived the temperature dip was [click to enlarge]:

 It is worth noting the La Niña that is just ending was both longer and stronger than the La Niña of 2008.  It is hard to stop the march of global warming –  other than through deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Supposedly, the deniers said, this “Super La Niña” meant “Things might get real cold.”  As Scolnik reports, that statement would be true if you replaced the word “cold” with “hot”:

In addition to the 2706 daily high temperature records, 63 all-time June temperature records and 17 all-time (any month) records were set. One all-time monthly record has already been set so far in July (Willow Run Airport, Michigan).

For comparison, here is the number of all-time record low temperatures set in each month of the the “cold, snowy winter” of 2010-2011:

December 0
January 3
February 5 


I’m not certain how hot it has to be to get the deniers to wake up to reality — how brutal the droughts and heat waves and sand storms — but I guess it is going to have to get a lot worse.  Sadly, if we listen to them, it will, as I discussed last month (see “Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up):

Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers

The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists….

“According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years,” said the study’s lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh,

Some newspapers, like USA Today, have apparently even taken to using sexually suggestive graphs to make sure people come in out of sun during the record-smashing heat:

As an aside, Charles Apple of the American Copy Editors Society, notes of the above chart, “You need a dirty mind to be an editor in this business.”  The editors at Grist would seem to agree, given the headline they ran in mocking that chart, which I will not repeat!

But hey, if it gets people to pay attention to the advice, it’s probably worthwhile.  Remember, we live in a world where even a U.S. Senator, James Inhofe, the former chair of the Senate environment committee, doesn’t know enough to avoid swimming in a visible algae bloom! Source Climate Progress

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