A government climate report released yesterday confirms what we all guessed when we spent St. Patrick's Day sunning in our bikinis. Earth's hottest new club is America.
Honestly, 51.1 degrees doesn't even sound all that warm but, my God, do you remember how hot it was? More like 501.1 degrees, right? Or more like 55 degrees. In any case, it was 8.6 degrees hotter than the average March of the last century.
The report notes that 15,292 heat records were broken across the United States, though that number includes both day- and nighttime highs to make it sound more impressive (the amount of daytime and nighttime record highs was split pretty evenly, as you might expect).
The previous March record was set in 1910, itself a pretty hot year, according to Jake Crouch, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist who authored the report. Django Reinhardt was born in January of that year, so you can only imagine what things must have been like during the other months. (Hot, I guess. That's what Jake Crouch said.)
The government's climate records reach all the way back to 1895, the year weather first appeared in America.
Refusing to attend the nationwide family barbecue was the U.S.'s emo teenaged daughter, Alaska, for whom this past March was actually the 10th coldest on record. Just last week, Anchorage broke its nearly 60-year record for the highest seasonal snowfall.
However, every state in the union, including Alaska, experienced at least one record daily temperature last month.
At the moment, experts disagree over to what extent man-made climate change is to blame (or thank, if you love cute summertime fashions) for the freakishly sultry temperatures.
Martin Hoerling, another researcher from NOAA, attributed the warm spell primarily to natural causes, but noted that greenhouse gas emissions "likely contributed on the order of 5% to 10% of the magnitude of the heat wave during 12-23 March."
NASA physicist and carbon emissions attack dog James Hansen argued that global warming was the main culprit behind the heat. He also recently declared that global warming was a moral issue on par with slavery, so take from that what you will.