We're not even a full fourth of the way into 2012, and national weather records have already been fried on the sidewalk.
Calculations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined that March temperatures for the lower 48 states were a whopping 8.6 degrees above normal. Additionally, the first quarter of 2012 broke the January-March record by 1.4 degrees. To put the numbers in perspective, records are usually broken by only one- or two-tenths of a degree.
"When you look at what's happened in March this year, it's beyond unbelievable," said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver. Top NASA climate scientist James Hansen agreed, noting that heat extremes aren't just increasing in temperature, but in frequency as well.
What does the record-breaking heat mean? To many, it’s further proof of a drastically changing climate—and perhaps a reminder to buy an industrial strength fan for the summer months.
Video produced by Jim Festante.