Concern Americans are desensitized to records

Posted at 2:23 PM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 16:23:33-04
It's a new record for Earth’s hot streak. The month of March marked 11 straight months of chart-topping heat. 
The first three months of 2016 were 2.07 degrees higher than ‘normal,’ according to data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
Kevin Trenberth, a Distinguished Senior Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, says the recent record heat is not a complete surprise, because of the current El Nino pattern, in which higher temperatures are more common. 
But some scientists worry record temperatures are becoming so commonplace that no one is paying attention or changing behavior. 

“I think the public is a little bit desensitized. That probably is true,” said John Walker, who is skeptical about climate change. "We hear it a lot. It's propaganda at this point."

Trenberth says the most recent example is the severe flooding in Houston. He says warm ocean waters caused more moisture to feed the storms to produce record rainfall.

“If you're a victim of those kind of things, then boy, you sit up and take notice!” said Trenberth. “But, otherwise we sort of read about it or watch it on television, and maybe we make the connection, but often I don't think the connection is made adequately.” 

A recent study published in Nature Journal says Americans actually prefer the warmth with 80 percent enjoying more pleasant weather than 40 years ago. But the study says there will be 88 percent less preferable weather by the end of the century, if greenhouse gas emissions are not limited. 

“Makes me think about the ice caps melting and floods and drought,” said Lucy Hu, who is worried about climate change. "A lot of scary things for the future."

The 11-month streak broke the previous record of 10 months set in 1944. NOAA has been keeping records since 1880.