Meteorologists say that temperatures in the United States aren't just above normal — they're shattering all the records on the books. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that average temperature in the lower 48 states was 8.6 degrees above normal in March, pushing the national average for all of 2012 above 6 percent. Temperature records — which in the U.S. date back to 1895 — are rarely broken by more than one or two tenths of a point at a time.
All this follows fourth warmest U.S. winter on record, which came after the second warmest summer ever in 2011. More than 7,000 weather stations across the U.S. broke high temperature records in the last month.
On the other hand, the the heat wave seems to be mostly concentrated in North America (and the lower half at that.) Despite the mild winter months here, brutally cold temperatures hammered Eastern Europe and Russia for much of this past winter. Meanwhile, Anchorage, Alaska, broke a seasonal snowfall record (11.2 feet as of Saturday) that was set back in 1954. They typically average about six feet a year. Valdez, Alaska, got 36 feet this winter.
The weather patterns of the last year seems to suggest, if not global warming, then at least serious climate change as weather around the globe swings wildly to various extremes. There's also no doubt that we're losing ice at both the North and South Poles as we appear to be head toward another uncertain summer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.