Today is World Meteorological Day, and there’s no better time to take a serious look at our meteorological surroundings than right now, here in North America. All across the continent, records have been smashed: from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, a heat wave like nothing we’ve ever seen before is hitting the U.S. and Canada, while out west, Oregon has gotten a new record for snowfall. Just what is going on here?
This past Wednesday broke records all across the Midwest and Northeast. Some stats:
Chicago has broken high temperature records for nine days in a row–though today is likely to end that streak. The temperature in Chicago this week has been sometimes 30 degrees higher than the average–more similar to June weather than March.
Many Canadian cities including Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Quebec City, St. John, Windsor, Hamilton, and London, all broke high-temperature records on Wednesday. St. John’s high of 25.4°C (78°F) was higher than any recorded temperature in April.
The low temperatures in Marquette, MI and Mt. Washington, NH, was higher than the record high temperature in the past.
Lake Michigan has a water temperature closer to average June readings than March, reaching into the mid-50s in the middle of the lake.
The server that handles NOAA’s weather records has been down for days, due to unprecedented traffic. (Note: link doesn’t work. See previous sentence for explanation.)
New York City has had seven days of record-breaking temperatures, with yesterday’s high of 78 breaking a 74-year-old record.
But! Due to the weird shape of the jet stream that’s causing all of this, the west coast is actually getting temperatures well below average, from B.C. to L.A. Earlier this week, Eugene, OR broke its record for most snowfall in March.
Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, said of the heat wave that “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.”
Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, called the record-breaking month “mind-boggling.”
“Global warming advocate” Bill McKibben says “it’s not just off the charts, it’s off the wall the charts are tacked to.