Record Highs Beating Record Lows 2:1 With Global Warming

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Record daily high and low temperatures happen now and then at a give weather station. In a normal, stable climate the number of record highs and record lows should be about even. But with human-caused global warming, record highs are expected to be more common than record lows. And they are.

Climate Nexus has this handy dandy widget to track record highs and record lows over the previous year.

Click to see the 1950s, when global warming was not as severe at it is today. Then look at the 1990s when things were starting to take off. Then look at the last year.

Here is NCAR’s Gerry Meehl talking about the record record highs.

Thanks to Climate Nexus for putting this together.

Atmospheric temperatures still swing between “cold” and “hot” years, even as they now trend warmer on average. This is because of natural variation in the climate system, as heat cycles between the atmosphere and the ocean through phenomena such as El Niño. Heat records are more likely to be broken when natural variation runs in the same direction as global warming. When the two are out of sync, it is more likely that temperatures will be average or even a little below average. Therefore, the rising trend in the ratio of record highs to record lows is clearest when looking over decades.

The image at the top of the post is from UCAR.

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6 thoughts on “Record Highs Beating Record Lows 2:1 With Global Warming

  1. You can check the daily monthly and annual records being set at the NOAA Daily Weather Records web page.

    This year to date, as of Nov 19, there were 23,382 new daily highs and 10,519 new daily lows in the US

    Also there were 133 new monthly highs vs 420 new monthly lows.

    And lastly there have been 45 new all-time highs and 16 new all-time lows

    the global figures are more skewed, with 45,835 new daily highs vs. 16,200 new daily lows, 2435 vs 570 monthly highs vs. lows, and 120 new all-time highs vs 32 new all-time lows.

  2. Global warming is quite bad for the earth. The rising heat in the earth’s atmosphere due to the pollution of industry and the residence will continue to rise exponentially according to the NCAR video within the post. The current generations really have to do something about this because sooner or later they won’t have an earth to live on, it’ll just become a brown marshmallow.

  3. We need to do something about global warming soon before it becomes a bigger problem. The major cause is pollution, we need to decrease the pollution the factories are creating. Before these temperatures increase even more. According to the NRDC global warming is the greatest crisis of our time.

  4. Dear Greg Laden,
    I am a 10th grader at Kapolei high school and I would like to start off by saying thank you for writing such interesting blogs about this topic. Global warming is a very important issue and it need to be addressed more than in just science blogs. Media only focuses on so much and the general public doesn’t know about the dangers of Global Warming.
    It was nice to learn about the rising ratio that global warming has. It’s interesting to see how back in the 1950s, the high temperature records were only 1.09 to the cold temperature records. However now, that ratio on November 22, 2015 is at 2.20 high temperature records to 1 cold temperature records. Based on the video by Gerald Meehl, the experiments they ran estimates that by the mid-21st century the ration of 2:1 will increase to 20:1 with more high temperatures and less cold temperatures. However, the human race will still experience cold days. It’s not strange but questions that could be experimented on are “how long will take for cold days to stop coming?”, “Will the entire world ever be the same temperature?” or even darker “At what point, will the human race cease to exist if this trend were to continue and we only have the technology we have now?”
    Looking at some other blogs written by you, I see that the Antarctic ice melting is also a huge consequence of global warming. Based on what you posed, a generalization is that the melting of the polar ice is affecting the waters but it’s difficult to see the impact it will make. Stated in the paper “Antarctic Ice Sheet Deterioration Study Left out Important Factors” by you, Greg Laden, your theory is that CO2 affects the surface warming and the melting of the ice, however since surface warming is so slow, it could not be a factor to the increasing waters. One day the amount of CO2 in the water and above will reach equilibrium, however that’s in a million years. Won’t all the ice be gone by then? Seeing how during the Ice Age, there was ice and even further back, but in this time and age, with all the Carbon from cars and factories, will equilibrium ever be settled?
    Thank you for reading this. Sorry for bothering you with silly questions or my uneducated opinions.
    Sincerely MZ of Kapolei

  5. How do the deniers swallow the fact that they’re obviously not smarter than a 5th grader?

    (Or do they blind themselves to that, too?)

  6. Global warming is a very big issue in the earths atmosphere. Pollution is one of the major reasons why the heat in the earths atmosphere is increasing. Gases like Carbon Dioxide which is from car exhausts and other pollutants released from smokestacks at power plants trap heat from the sun in the earths atmosphere. It is normal to have some emission of greenhouse gases, however there has been an alarming increase of air pollution. The climate change is at a 2 to 1 ratio for high temperature vs low temperature. The acceleration of Global warming will continue if we don’t take any action now and come up with solutions. The climate change could eventually of to a 20 to 1 ratio or even a 50 to 1 ratio in the near future. If we continue to do nothing the entire world could be destroyed and there won’t be a place to live and we will eventually go extinct.

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