Temperature Variations in the Era of Climate Change

Posted on June 2, 2010


Maybe you heard it.  The highest temperature ever recorded in Asia was recorded in Pakistan on May 26th, 53.5°C or 128.3°F.  And in Myanmar, Southeast Asia, they experienced the hottest temperature in their recorded history May 12, where the temperature  hit 47°C  or 116.6°F.

And a present heatwave in India is killing 100s of people, and is ongoing.  We may never know the real death toll over there, because most of the deaths are happening in rural areas with restricted access to medical facilities.  They expect temperatures in large parts of India to soar to about 50°C or 122°F in the coming month.

The highest temperature I ever experienced personally was a particular afternoon in Egypt–in the low to mid-40s–which was like walking in a blast furnace.  50°C is, on a personal basis, almost beyond imagination.

However, you say, it’s cool in Vancouver.

Yes, it is.  For all of you who forget that we had cherry trees blossoming in January, and who wish to deny the reality of climate change, yes, we had a cool May.  And June is starting out fairly cool as well.

We’ll see what the rest of the summer looks like.

But the above chart should put it all in perspective for those of us living over here.  The above chart deals only with the USA, but it’s suggestive of the entire continent.

This chart sets out the recorded high and low temperatures across the entire country, and plots the changes over time.  On the bottom of the chart are ratios setting up record low temperatures recorded in a given decade against record high temperatures.  As you can see, during the sixties and the seventies, the number of record low temperatures recorded exceeds the number of record high temperatures recorded.  By the twenty-first century, represented in the last  bar, the number of record high temperatures recorded has DOUBLED the number of record low temperatures recorded.

This means it’s getting warmer, folks.

Even if its chilly this month in Vancouver.