Publication Date October 20, 2016 | WxShift

Record October Warmth Starting to Fade

United States

[U]nseasonably warm episodes will only become more common as the planet continues to heat up thanks to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Record high temperatures were often eclipsed, or in some cases, shattered this week. On Sunday, the temperature hit 102°F (39°C) in the Oklahoma Panhandle town of Slapout. According to the Oklahoma state climatologist, that was the state’s highest temperature on record so late in the year.

The next day in Dodge City, Kansas, the old record high of 94°F (34°C), which had held since 1926, was crushed, as the temperature surged to 101°F (38°C). It was also the first 100°F reading on record in October in Dodge City. Nearby Garden City also hit 100°F, breaking their daily record by 5°F. It was the first time in 142 years of records that both of those towns reached 100°F in October.

St. Louis had a couple of noteworthy records. Monday reached 91°F (33°C), the hottest so late in the season there. The same day, the city set a record for the highest minimum temperature, with the low only dropping to at 72°F (22°C), breaking the previous record of 66°F (19°C).

Over on the East Coast, Bridgeport, Conn., surged to 86°F (30°C) on Wednesday, breaking the record for the date as well as for the hottest temperature so late in the season.  John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York also hit 86°F on Wednesday, crushing the 51-year-old record for the date by 11°F.

According to the Weather Channel’s Greg Diamond, more than 330 record high and record warm low temperatures have been tied or broken since Saturday.

As the climate continues to warm because of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, such heat extremes will become more common. So while we cannot say climate change caused the October warming, it does mean that extremes of heat, no matter the time of year, will become more frequent.