ORLANDO, Fla. – How is your summer going? Mine has been full of travel, learning, tracking thunderstorms and trying to stay cool. The big news this week has been HEAT! Most of western Europe had a record setting week. England recorded the highest daytime temperature ever on Tuesday when London hit 104 degrees!
We have discussed the reasons for warming in previous weeks. This week on Forecasting Change I want to focus on a part of the Global Warming problem that does not capture the headlines. Let’s focus on warm overnight lows.
The graphic below shows the warming of our lows that has been happening over the last 50 years.
From year to year, it does bounce up and down. But the overall trend, much like our hot days, is on the incline upward. Since 1970 the United States has warmed the average low temperature from 58 degrees to almost 61 degrees. That is an average increase of 2.5 degrees.
Florida is warming a little less than the national average.
Gainesville has increased the average summer night low by 1.7 degrees. In Orlando we are up 1.2 degrees. That puts our average summer night low right at 74 degrees.
While it might not seem like a big dea,l this warming of the overnight low is happening at a pace nearly twice as fast as the increase in the daytime high. According to our media partners at Climate Central, last summer a record 71% of the U.S. was affected by extreme minimum temperatures while only 45% were affected by extreme maximum temperatures.
All of this leads to the usual problems with the elderly, the very young, the chronically ill, and anyone without access to air-conditioning. And for those who do have air-conditioning it leads to high energy consumption and cost.