“Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism.” ~ David King, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford
“People tend to focus on the here and now. The problem is that, once global warming is something that most people can feel in the course of their daily lives, it will be too late to prevent much larger, potentially catastrophic changes.” ~ Elizabeth Kolbert, author
“It’s unlikely that the U.S. is going to take serious action on climate change until there are observable, dramatic events, almost catastrophic in nature, that drive public opinion and drive the political process in that direction.” ~ Robert Stavins, head of Harvard’s Environmental Economics program
This March was the warmest on record as nature dialed up the temperatures, with record-breakers making news across the country.
Flip flops and sunscreen all-over-the-place were proof that more than 15,000 records were upped last month. Following are highlights according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) National Overview Report:
>Record and near-record breaking temperatures dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation and contributed to the warmest March on record for the contiguous United States, a record that dates back to 1895. The average temperature of 51.1 degrees F was 8.6 degrees F above the 20th century average for March and 0.5 degrees F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months that have passed since the U.S. record began, only one month, January 2006, has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.
>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.
>Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March. According to preliminary data, there were 15,272 warm temperature records broken (7,755 daytime records, 7,517 nighttime records). Hundreds of locations across the country broke their all-time March records. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date.
>The nationally-averaged precipitation total was 2.73 inches, which is 0.33 inch above average. The Pacific Northwest and the Southern Plains were much wetter than average during March while drier-than-average conditions were observed in the interior West, Northeast, and Florida. Colorado had its driest March on record.
>According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of April 3rd, 36.8 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, a decrease from 38.7 percent at the end of February. Above-average precipitation across the Southern Plains improved long-term drought conditions across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
>The warmer-than-average conditions across the eastern U.S. also created an environment favorable for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there were 223 preliminary tornado reports during March, a month that averages 80 tornadoes. The majority of the tornadoes occurred during the March 2-3 outbreak across the Ohio Valley and Southeast, which caused 40 fatalities and damages exceeding 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.
>The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record 41 percent during March. The extent of extremes in warm maximum (71 percent) and warm minimum (70 percent) temperatures was at or near record levels across the nation. A record extent of extremes in both maximum and minimum temperatures covered all of the Northeast, Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley and Southeast regions during the month.
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