The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that July 2012 was hottest month on record for contiguous U.S. since record keeping began in 1895…the average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees. And that is a whopping 3.3 degrees above the average 20th-century temperature. This now officially removes July 1936, (the previous record holder with 77.4 degrees) as being the hottest ever!
Yikes! This hot July contributed to the warmest 12-month period ever recorded in the United States…double yikes!
Here are some other things to ponder:
- Higher-than-average temperatures gripped much of the country last month, with the biggest departures from the 20th-century average reported across most of the Plains, in the Midwest and along the Eastern Seaboard.
- Virginia had its warmest July on record, with the average temperature four degrees above the norm.
- About 63 percent of the nation was experiencing drought conditions, which contributed to the high temperatures.
A prominent NASA scientist, James E. Hansen, reported in a journal article published that recent extremes of hot weather have been so pronounced that scientists can say with near-certainty that events like the Russian heat wave of 2010 or the Texas heat wave of 2011 would not have happened unless global warming was under way. While some scientists praised his results, others argued that the evidence was still insufficient for attributing a specific heat wave or storm to climate change. A vast majority of scientists agree that such events will become ever more common as the planet warms, however.
And now of course we have megastorms like Hurricane Sandy to add into the mix.