Science, Tech & Environment

New NOAA data shows more than 15,000 weather records set in March

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A giant umbrella keeps a few fans in the shade as temperatures hit 90 degrees during an MLB spring training baseball game between in Peoria, Ariz., on March 31, 2012. (Photo by Darryl Webb/Reuters.)

More than 15,000 weather records were set across the United States in March, according to newly-released figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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All 50 states set daily temperature records in March. In 25 states east of the Rocky Mountains it was the hottest March ever. It's not just March. The average temperature for the first three months of the year, 42 degrees, was well above the average, which should be in the mid 30s.

John Harold, a farmer in Olathe, Colo., said it's been hard not to notice the strange weather fluctuations.

"You see a fresh crop of wheat. You see your water running off earlier than normal. You have to make decisions — do you plant early and try to dodge a freeze, or do you just go ahead and wait to the normal times you'd plant crops," Harold said.

He said soil temperatures at his farm are running 15 to 20 degrees above normal right now. Further complicating matters are that the snow runoff is happening now and if he doesn't plant, he may run out of the water he needs for his plants to grow and thrive.

Andrew Revkin, senior fellow at the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies at Pace University, said this year's records are an indication of what to expect in the future.

"Expect more of the same as the climate warms. But, on a year-to-year basis, don't confuse climate with weather," he said. "When you look globally, keep in mind that the other side of the Northern Hemisphere has some really harsh cold conditions this winter."

The positioning of the jet stream has led to much of the fluctuation between usually similar climates this year.

"When you look at the global conditions, you do see this trend, that we're warming. The climate is warming," Revkin said.