Record highs broken twice as often as record lows
With the recent record-breaking cold, we decided to take a look record high temperatures compared to record low temperatures across the United States. Data shows daily record highs have outpaced record lows with a ratio of roughly two to one!
There have always been swings between hot and cold weather. In a stable climate, these rounds of hot and cold would balance out over time. However, that is not happening, due to the warming from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas pollutants. The warming has led to more extreme hot temperatures and milder minimum temperatures, so that record high temperatures are now outpacing record lows.
Some noteworthy records across the U.S. this year:
-September: 2,740 daily temperature records were set; 97% of which (2,655) were highest maximum records compared to 3% (85) lowest minimum records
-September: 244 monthly temperature records were set; 98% of which (240) were highest maximum records compared to 2% (4) lowest minimum records
Extreme heat is the deadliest form of extreme weather in the United States, outpacing flooding and causing more deaths than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Extreme heat is especially risky for vulnerable communities and relatively cooler climates, where risk perception and preparedness is generally lower. It also compounds the impacts of rainfall shortages—leading to flash drought in much of the Southeast and exacerbating the risk of wildfires.