Record highs still outpacing record lows
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — If you were to pay attention to the yowling of some of the noisiest global warming deniers, you’d think that our little January cold snap means the end of global warming, and the start of a new ice age.
Well guess what? It’s winter. It’s January and it’s supposed to be cold. Global warming doesn’t mean that it’s never going to be cold. Global warming means that, on average, around the world, temperatures are increasing over the long run.
No climate scientist has ever said that there aren’t going to be cold winters because of global warming, although you often see deniers take quotes to that effect out of context, for example, “Winters are a thing of the past.”
The fact is, winters have been getting shorter, especially on the spring end, as there is heaps of empirical evidence that snow is melting earlier, throwing a whole slew of natural systems out of synch.
Here in Summit County, we enjoyed some crisp, typical January weather the past week or so, with nighttime lows well below zero, and daytime highs reaching only into the single digits for a few days.
But remarkably (or perhaps not, given global temperature trends) not a single location in Colorado broke its all-time record low during the “cold snap.” Check for yourself at the National Climatic Data Center’s records website. Think about it: Out of a possible 97,000 low-temperature records, not one was broken.
Across the country, there have been a few low temperature records set in the past few weeks and days, but just in the past seven days, the number of all-time record highs — in the middle of winter — outpaced the number of record lows by more than five to one, with 1.306 spots reaching all-time warm readings, but only 223 weather stations dipping down to record lows.
I spent a good bit of time combing through the interactive records website and I couldn’t find any recent slice of time with more record cold temperatures than warm temperatures, so it seems pretty clear to me that the global warming trend is even affecting the cold season. But what do I know, I’m just a reporter.
But let’s give Old Man Winter a little bit of credit. So far in January, a grand total of seven spots have set all-time low temperature records, all of them in Texas and Nevada.