Global climate change

U.S. and Canada experiencing more days of extreme high temperatures during summer and winter

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
11/28/2018, 11:11:32 AM

New research from Kent State University and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres has found that extreme heat events in the United States and Canada have increased since 1980. Areas that have experienced the greatest increase in these extreme heat events include parts of the southern U.S. and northern Quebec.

Extreme heat events are defined as unusually hot weather in the summer and unusually warm weather in the winter.

The study also found that extreme cold events (unusually cool weather in the summer and frigid spells in the winter) have decreased since 1980. Areas that have experienced the greatest decrease in these extreme cold events include Alaska, northern Canada and parts of the U.S. East Coast.

According to the AGU report, temperature extremes pose a greater ecological risk to many species than average global warming, which is the most commonly cited indicator of climate change.

The increase in extreme temperatures can also have critical implications on human health and agriculture, according to Scott Sheridan, who is the lead author of this study.

Out-of-season extreme temperatures can cause early thaws in mild winters and catch people unprepared and unacclimated.

Extreme cold events have become almost non-existent and increasingly difficult to identify in parts of the Arctic.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Global climate change