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The March heat wave continues to shatter longstanding records from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast, with more than 2,200 warm temperature records set during the month so far. It’s quite possible that this March heat wave will be considered an unprecedented event in the U.S. historical record, which extends back to the late 19th century, based on the margin by which records are being exceeded, the wide geographic scope of the heat wave, the duration of the event and the time of year when it is occurring.
According to the HAMweather website, 1,192 record daytime highs were set in the U.S. from March 12-18, along with 708 high minimum temperature records....According to the CapitalClimate blog, so far this month warm weather records have been outpacing cold records by a lopsided ratio of 19-to-1. Since January 1, the ratio has been closer to 14-to-1.
The weather pattern resulting in this heat wave is remarkably similar to ones that lead to prolonged periods of extreme heat during the summertime, with a huge dome of high pressure blocking the eastward movement of storms and cooler air off the Pacific. Some meteorologists are studying whether global warming is leading to more such “blocking patterns,” and there are some indications that this may be the case, although there is considerable uncertainty surrounding this question.
Seed giant Monsanto Co. plans large-scale tests this year of the first government-approved biotech crop developed to deal with drought.