A heat wave has spread throughout the US and Canada.  More than 1,054 locations in the US have surpassed historical temperature records from March 13-19.  This image taken from NASA’s MODIS shows the large area of higher than average temperatures (in red).

Not only have temperatures been unusually warm, but also strange in occurrence.  The city of Chicago for example reached temperatures over 26.6 C between March 14-18 breaking records for six consecutive days.  On the one hand many people may welcome the hot weather, especially since its spring, but on the other if these extreme events continue in the future new means of adaptation need to be in place especially if they increase well beyond what people consider ‘comfortable’.

At a fund-raising event in Chicago, President Barack Obama said he enjoyed the nice weather, but that it made him ‘a little nervous’.  Could what people are experiencing today and in the recent past be the beginning of a much larger paradigm shift in climate?  While many parts of the US have been heating up recently, the state of Oregon in the Pacific Northwest has actually been experiencing record-breaking snowfall.  A nice graphic from Climate Central illustrating this weather pattern is here.