What do a mild winter and steamy summer add up to? The region’s warmest first seven months of the year since 1895.
Locally, New Jersey has not had a month with a below average temperature average since January 2011. “That’s 18 straight months at or above average,” said Dave Robinson, climatologist at Rutgers University.
The region’s hot weather trend reflects a global phenomenon, Robinson added.
“We’re seeing sea ice melting out in the Arctic and my research shows that snow cover is melting earlier in the spring than it has in past decades,” he said.
Measuring surface temperature is just one way the climate changes are being tracked. Robinson noted that while observational records from thermometers go back a little over 100 years, natural indicators have been around forever.
“We have other types of what we call ‘proxy type’ information — like tree rings and ice cores and pollen from bogs and lake beds — that suggest that we’re in a period of time when we’re having extreme conditions and things are changing quite rapidly,” he said.
This information supplements the data from satellites, ship measurements and ocean buoys to provide a full picture of weather patterns. The greenhouse theory and weather forecast models augment climate study. According to Robinson, the combined data suggest the warming is going to continue.
“You can poke holes in any single piece of evidence to a point, but it’s the plethora of theory and observation and modeling projections that all point to the fact that humans are playing a major role in what’s going on in our climate system today,” Robinson said.