The lopsided U.S. ratio of record highs to lows tilts dramatically toward the warm side.
Just as a baseball player taking steroids might achieve a higher batting average but still strike out at times… a climate warmed by fossil fuel emissions can produce more record highs even as record lows are still possible.
For the last year (February 7, 2012, to February 5, 2013)… here's the tally from the U.S. records page at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC):
Daily record highs: 32,946
Daily record lows: 6,614
That ratio of nearly 5:1 has steadily increased from a value of 2:1 during the last decade and even lower ratios in preceding decades.
Even with the sharp bouts of cold in many parts of the nation… this past month… we saw 10 times as many daily record highs (2,386) as daily record lows (295) set or tied.
The numbers are even more dramatic when looking at all-time highs and lows (the warmest and coldest readings ever measured at a given weather station).
Number of U.S. stations that matched their all-time lows in the
last year: 7
Number that broke all-time lows: 0
Number that set or broke all-time highs: 356