D.C. just broke a 117-year old high temperature record by 6 degrees
A small shift in climate leads to a dramatic increase in the frequency of temperatures at the high end. The very most extreme events are the events most affected by climate change. As the average global temperature rises and the climate shifts, hot temperatures that were extreme under the old climate are closer to the middle of the new temperature range. Under the earth's climate system events closer to the midpoint of the climate range occur much more frequently than events closer to the extremes, as shown in the graphic on the right. The shifting bell curve also leads to the occurrence of never-before-seen extremes in high temperatures.
The record high temperature for Feb. 8 has been broken. The high temperature came in the 12 o’clock hour — 74 degrees (!!!) — thanks to lots of sunshine and a strong wind from the west. The record at National, originally set in 1900, is 68 degrees. It was tied in 2015, but hasn’t been surpassed until today.
This is classic down-slope warming. As air descends, it warms up. First law of thermodynamics. When the wind comes from the west, the D.C. metro tends to be warmer because air is flowing down off the mountains. All three airports set new records for the date.
Feb. 8 records
Washington, D.C.: 68 degrees (1900) — 74 degrees (2017)
BWI: 70 degrees (1965) — 72 degrees (2017)
Dulles Airport: 70 degrees (1965) — 71 degrees (2017)