Greenhouse gasses spur weather records in Utah and across the nation

ST. GEORGE – On Tuesday, records fell like autumn leaves as the National Climatic Data Center reported 286 different unprecedented high temperatures across the United States.

Temperature records set in the United States on Dec. 4, 2012 | Photo courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center

One of these records was set next door to Southern Utah in Beaver Dam, Ariz., where an all-time seasonal high of 74 degrees Fahrenheit was reported; this beat the previous record by three degrees. And in Mexican Hat, Utah, a new record of 63 degrees was set.

More highs may be on the way, as by the end of the week, records for the number of consecutive days without snowfall in the midwest will be broken.

“A lot of people in the scientific community will conclude that this is an example of global warming, but I hate to use the term because it divides people,” said Pete Van Valkenburg, head of the Physical Science Department at Dixie State College of Utah.

Head of the DSC Physical Science department Pete Van Valkenburg, location and date unknown | Photo courtesy of Dixie State College of Utah

Van Valkenburg, whose primary discipline is geology, noted that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and if the atmosphere has a great deal of it, temperatures will rise as they have been. However, research has shown that in the distant past, atmospheric conditions made the earth much hotter than it is today.

In the future, Van Valkenburg said people should expect temperatures to continue rising.

“Nobody is going to make the tough choices to actually do anything about atmospheric greenhouse gases.”

Ed. note: Correction made Dec. 7, 2012 – Beaver Dam, referred to in the story, is Beaver Dam, Ariz. not Nev. (There is a nearby Beaver Dam in Nev.)

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • Omari December 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Beaver Dam, Nevada? It’s Arizona fyi! And yes this has been the warmest December I’ve ever seen in my lifetime here! Global warming is as real as me typing this comment!

  • Jade Brooklyn December 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Whoever denies that the globe is warming is str8 ignorant and needs to do some simple research. I researched and conlculded St George alone steadily warming in the past century. Infact from the mid 1970s to present, this area’s average temps have warmed dramatically! There was a time in the mid 1900s when you wouldn’t see a palm tree in the area and would instead see snow on the ground quite regularly…Just ask your grandparents. The evidence screams almost daily how much Old Man Winter is dying out not just locally, regionally or nationally, but internationally.

  • Willis December 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Tell me about it, there’s still green leaves on my mulberry tree in December!

  • Martha Brown December 7, 2012 at 1:49 am

    My hot pink bougainvillea vines i brought in from California are blooming now more than they did in July! Unbelievable, hope this lasts. Hopefully St George becomes like So. Cal with no more winters. Bring on global warming.

  • Cecil December 7, 2012 at 6:35 am

    So thermometers have only been around since the 1700’s. And really, really accurate ones have only been around for the last 20-30 yrs. The earth has been spinning around for let’s say millions of years. Now how can we possibly know if the earth is in any kind of permanent change or long term change at all? Think about it. Do we have enough info to make an intelligent conclusion regarding climate change? I don’t think so.

    • Tyler December 7, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Can you back your statenment about “really accurate thermometers only being around 20-30 years? You do realize that you’re saying a thermometer as recent as the late 80s, early 90s wasnt as accurate?? I beg the diff on that. But if you can prove it, all power to ya.

    • william December 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Oh they had thermometers, but they were called thermometer rock. They would tie a rock to a tree limb. It it was swinging it WINDY, if it was wet it is RAINING, if it had snow on it it it was SNOWING, and if it is hot then it is SUNNY.

  • Tom December 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Whether you believe in it or not, it’s called GLOBAL warming. It’s not SW Utah warming, or continental US warming. The lower 48 is 2% (two percent) of the earth. Logically you can’t extrapolate from any local WEATHER conditions to say anything about global CLIMATE. The UK is having one of their coldest falls in decades. What does that mean regarding global climate? Nothing.

    If you want to check LONG-TERM heat records for the US, look at the all-time state maximum temperatures. Two-thirds were set before 1950. ‘Splain that.

    And if you’re buying into the media’s bleating about extremes, the US summer of 1936 was the warmest on record which followed the coldest month ever, Feb 1936.

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