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We employ record-breaking statistics to study spatial correlations of record-setting terrestrial surface temperatures. To that end, a simple diagnostic tool is devised, reminiscent of a pair-correlation function. Data analysis reveals that while during the hottest years, record-breaking temperatures arrive in “heat waves”, extending throughout almost the entire continental United States, this is not so for all years, not even recently. Record-breaking temperatures generally exhibit spatial patterns and variability quite different from those of the mean temperatures.

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Journal of Environmental Statistics

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


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