It’s not your imagination, and it isn’t coincidence. It is warmer. In what University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver called “one of the most stunning examples of evidence of global warming,” this year’s winter and spring temperatures have set alarmingly high records. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures in the contiguous U.S. were 8.6 degrees above normal for January, February, and March.
“Everybody has this uneasy feeling. This is weird. This is not good,” said Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist who specializes in extreme weather at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Climate scientists liken the increasingly extreme weather experienced across the globe to home runs hit by a baseball player on steroids. The wildly increased levels carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases increases the likelihood of hitting a home run –i.e., experiencing extreme weather like this year’s warm winter, last year’s hot summer, and 2010-2011’s heavy snowstorms.