A look at weather extremes and the big-picture climate connections.

Climate Central’s Record Temperature Tracker

By Climate Central

In case you haven't seen this yet -- and hey, thanks to the Rachel Maddow Show for the recent props -- Climate Central has created an interactive tool (using data from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center) that allows you to explore record temperatures in near real-time. You can examine some of the extreme heat and cold air outbreaks dating back to 2000, and can watch events unfold during the course of a month using the "Play Month" option. You can also embed this tool on your website, provided that you cite Climate Central as the source.

In a long-term trend that demonstrates the effects of a warming climate, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record lows by an average of 2-to-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm. According to a 2009 study, if the climate were not warming, this ratio would be expected to be even. However, you'll notice that shorter time periods will have much more lopsided ratios, including this year when daily record highs are outnumbering daily record lows 9-to-1. Or, when you look at all warm temperature records, including overnight low temperatures compared to all cold temperature records, the ratio is 7-to-1. 

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