GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Over a dozen record lows were broken in the East since the start of 2018, including 7 in a row in New Bern. And Sunday morning, many areas approached all time record lows. Temperatures dipped about as low as they ever go in the East but even still, climate change continued.
To understand why, you have to differentiate day to day weather and climate. A snapshot of global temperatures on December 31, 2017 showed that North America was just about the only place seeing temperatures dip well below the norm. Worldwide, temperatures have been around a half degree Celsius (~1 degree Fahrenheit) above normal worldwide for the past several weeks.
Record highs across the country in recent decades have greatly outpaced record lows. Last year, the U.S. saw nearly 10 times as many record highs as record lows. That much of a gap can not be explained by natural variation in temperature alone.
Scientists plan to study this latest cold snap to see if climate change was a factor. Extreme heat and cold and extreme rainfall and snowfall are among the weather events that have been attributed to climate change in the past. Scientists still aren’t sure how climate change affects smaller scale systems like severe thunderstorms.