Between December and February, it’s hard to find an article about climate change in the blogosphere or the mainstream media that doesn’t include an ironic reference to winter weather. December in Copenhagen was a thrill for climate denial hawks, because it snowed. Like, during the global warming conference.
You don’t need a science degree to realize that snow in Denmark, or the Northeast U.S., during the winter, is not really surprising. No one ever said that global warming is abolishing winter… yet.
In fact, a study published in Geophysical Research Letters show that higher temperatures trump lower temps in the U.S. Here’s an excerpt from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) news release:
Spurred by a warming climate, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States, new research shows. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.
If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even. Instead, for the period from January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2009, the continental United States set 291,237 record highs and 142,420 record lows, as the country experienced unusually mild winter weather and intense summer heat waves.
Another important point: the study’s findings are consistent with climate model predictions.
As for the data itself:
The study team analyzed several million daily high and low temperature readings taken over the span of six decades at about 1,800 weather stations across the country, thereby ensuring ample data for statistically significant results.
The data then went through a quality control process to correct potential inconsistencies caused by various factors. Read more here.