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.
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.
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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