Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Unprecedented heat wave continues

Assuming the ridge of high pressure lasts as long as forecasters expect, the heatwave in central and eastern North America, already unprecedented in the historical climate records, will rival the incredible Moscow heat wave of 2010. Temperature records are being set daily across the midwestern U.S., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

Some of the record are simply stunning: I've been tweeting examples for the last couple days. in our national capital of Ottawa, the weekend temperature broke the previous high by 8 degrees Celsius.  The nighttime lows across a huge swath of the continent have been higher than the normal daytime maximum temperature. Today, it is 20 degrees Celsuis above normal across much of west-central Ontairo.

There have been plenty of other physical, biological and cultural impacts of the heat wave.  Here are three which came to my attention in the past day, I'd be happy to see more added in the comments:

- the Great Lakes are now almost entirely free of ice, as seen in these images from the Canadian ice Service. The heatwave has accelerated the end of the ice season. This should be "wettest" winter for the lakes since the beginning of the satellite record in 1980

- a friend in Madison, WI forwarded news about some unusually early bird appearances in the marshlands around town.

- if you type words like "patio" into Google Trends, you'll find a huge uptick in the search index, as people scramble for a place to have a beer on a hot March afternoon.

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