Record-breaking March heatwaves in US

Sat, Mar 24, 2012, 00:00

WASHINGTON – An “unprecedented” March heat wave in much of the United States has set or tied more than 7,000 high temperature records and signals a warming climate, health and weather experts said yesterday.

While natural climate variability plays a major role, it is the addition of human-spurred climate change that makes this particular hot spell extraordinary, the scientists said in a briefing.

“This heat wave is essentially unprecedented,” said Heidi Cullen of the non-profit science and communication organisation Climate Central. “It is hard to grasp how massive and significant this is.”

The date of first leafing, when buds burst open, has moved from March 20th, where it was during the 30-year period from 1951 to 1980, to March 17th, where it has been from 1981 to 2010.

An online report meanwhile shows that some states have had an even earlier spring, with Montana, Washington state, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and Connecticut seeing spring arrive five days or more ahead of the previous average. – (Reuters)