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1,192 record daytime highs were set in the United States from March 12-18, along with 708 high minimum temperature records.
The heat wave that has been sweeping across the US this week has reached new heights, with over 2,200 warm temperature records set during the month of March so far, Oregon Public Broadcasting News reported.
It is possible that March 2012 will be an unprecedented event in the United States' historical weather record, which extends back to the late 19th century, according to OPB News.
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The high temperatures across the country have reached into the 80s; in Chicago, the temperature has exceeded 80 degrees for five days in a row, from Wednesday through Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported. The upper Midwest hit 94°F yesterday in Winner, South Dakota, which is the earliest 90°F reading ever recorded in the Northern Plains, Mother Jones reported.
“If the forecast for 2 more days in the 80's verifies, it would also would mean that [...] roughly 41 percent of Chicago's 80°F days in March, dating back to 1871, would have occurred in March of 2012,” The National Weather service said in a statement.
Minneapolis also set a record high on Monday when the temperature hit 79°F, breaking the old record of 72°F which was set in 1910, Climate Central reported. The city set a record warm low temperature at 63°F; the typical low temperature for March 19 historically is 25°F, according to Climate Central.
Temperatures for the first 18 days of March have been nearly 14 degrees above average in the Twin Cities, and Minnesota’s lakes have been losing their remaining ice cover quickly, Climate Central reported.
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A map by HAM Weather has been tracking the temperature highs across the country, which have outpaced cold records 14 to 1, according to the Capital Climate blog. The imbalance between high and low temperature records is expected to increase as global warming continues, OPB News reported.
According to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters Journal, if the climate were not warming, the ratio would be expected to be even.
To put the acceleration of the world's temperatures in perspective, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies created a video which shows 131 years of global warming activity in 26 seconds.