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March high temps: 'Unusual factors afoot'
by Staff Writers
Boulder, Colo. (UPI) Apr 3, 2012

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Records show temperatures topped or equaled historic highs at 7,755 locations in the United States in March, climate scientists say.

The warm March kept up a winter trend, with the National Climatic Data Center declaring December, January and February collectively the fourth-warmest winter on record in the lower 48 states.

Accumulating greenhouse gases likely played a role in the "year without winter" experienced by a significant portion of North America, climate scientists said.

"Clearly, this is outstanding and well outside any expectation under an unchanging climate. The magnitude and duration of the events in March certainly indicate that some unusual factors are afoot," Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., told LiveScience.com.

However, even in a warming world there will be regions with below-normal temperatures, Trenberth said, noting 287 locations out of 174,643 reporting had record lows or tied historic ones.

The cold sites were clustered largely in the western United States, he said.

Still, it was the record highs that had scientists' attention.

"Extremes are always expected to happen as the climate record gets longer, but certain extremes related to heating are becoming more evident," Trenberth said.

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Record temperatures give way to snow in Scotland
London (AFP) April 3, 2012 - Scotland woke up to blizzards on Tuesday just days after basking in record temperatures for this time of year.

About 18 centimetres (seven inches) of snow fell in the Highlands overnight, with temperatures sinking to minus 0.5 degrees Celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit), and the BBC reported that 3,000 people had been left without power in the area.

Only one week ago, temperatures rose to a record 23.6 C (74.5 F) at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, marking a new high in Scotland for the month of March.

Overall, this March was the warmest in Britain since 1957 and the third sunniest month in England since 1929, the Met Office national weather service said.

Forecasters warned the snow would spread south into parts of northern England, although temperatures were likely to rise again for the four-day Easter weekend which starts on Friday.


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Weather records due to climate change: A game with loaded dice
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Apr 02, 2012
The past decade has been one of unprecedented weather extremes. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes is not merely accidental. From the many single events a pattern emerges. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear, the scientists show in a new analys ... read more

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