Setting Records: Hot and Cold Around the World

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While the Arctic heats up, other parts of the world are experiencing cooler temperatures. Different results from the same cause: global warming.

© BJ Kirschhoffer/ Polar Bears International
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 12:48

Here we go again; the climate is setting more records. People around the world are experiencing unusual temperatures due to human-caused global warming.

While residents of Arkansas and Indiana, in the United States, encountered temperatures last month lower than any recorded July in the past 120 years, Norwegians felt temperatures 7.7 degrees higher than the 30-year average ending in 1990.

The planet’s sometime hot, sometimes cool, temperature fluctuations can be confusing. “"In some ways it is challenging," said Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at NOAA's Climatic Data Center. "We are all -- all of us -- much more sensitive to what's going on immediately around us. That's why we take measurements around the world, so we don't assume what's going on in our backyard is true everywhere.

It’s not just land temperatures that are fluctuating above and below average. The National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the average temperature for ocean surfaces was 62.56 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s 1.06 degrees above the 20th-century average. The ocean surfaces also reached that temperature in July 2009. It’s the third straight month this year that ocean surface temperatures set a record.

NOAA also reported, “The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–July period (year-to-date) was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 13.8°C (56.9°F), tying with 2002 as the third warmest such period on record.”

Warmer oceans are likely playing a part in changing land temperatures. According to Environment and Energy Publishing, “(Ocean warming) likely contributed to the abnormal weather patterns in the U.S. When portions of the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles off the coast of Alaska and the Northwest U.S. are warmer than usual, Western states like California tend to be hot while states east of the Rockies are cool, Arndt said. That happens when cool air from the north plummets deep into the U.S.”

Read more: Environment and Energy Publishing, “As world's oceans heat up, Norway sizzles and Arkansas shivers; NOAA, “Global Analysis - July 2014” 

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