(Tommy Alexander/MJ)
BY TAYLOR HAWKINS, Guest Writer

Colder temperatures may have returned, but over 7000 temperature records have been broken or tied since March 12.

A wide variety of cities, including Chicago, Des Moines, Myrtle Beach, New York City, Madison, Atlantic City, Traverse City and Tampa all broke high-temperature records this month. Traverse City broke its previous record of 77 degrees with a high of 81 – a record that was 42 degrees above the average temperature.

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s (NOAA) website that tracks extreme weather events crashed on the 20th due to the high number of broken records and the increased traffic to view the broken records. As of March 24, the website was still not fully functional.

According to NOAA, the 2011-2012 winter has been the 4th warmest winter on the books. Randall Dole, the deputy director of research at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, stated that “the lack of extensive snowpack helped allow temperatures to soar to record levels.”

According to Dole, it’s difficult to attribute the heat wave to man-made climate change, “though it could well have made a truly extreme event even warmer.”

According to Gabi Hergel, Chair of Climate Systems Science at the University of Edinburgh, in order to get a better understanding of the role of global warming in the heatwave, it would be necessary to model how likely these events would be to happen with and without the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.