New Normal: Temperatures Are Trending Up Across U.S.

This article discusses how temperatures are rising across the US.

Normal temperatures, generally defined to be the 30-year average at a location, are trending up across most of the U.S. Since 1980, the average continental U.S. temperature has risen 1.4°F.  In Climate Central’s analysis of normal temperatures in 244 cities across the country, 94 percent have risen, providing more evidence of the long-term warming trend on our planet.

The warming signals a new normal not just for our temperatures, but for the composition of our oceans and our atmosphere. In a recurring theme, Arctic sea ice is again at an exceptionally low level for this time of the year, with the lowest April level in the satellite era in the Bering Sea, just west of Alaska.  There was enough open water over the winter to allow heavy surf to flood coastal homes in Alaska, where an ice-covered sea is normally in place to protect the shore.

The warming is fueled by the ongoing increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — primarily from the burning of fossil fuels. In April, CO2 passed another milestone when the monthly average concentration reached 410 parts per million for the first time in the pristine air at the top of Mauna Loa in Hawaii, where scientists conduct measurements. Concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has now climbed more than 30 percent in the 60 years of observations there.


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