September 18, 2012
Is Hot In Here? This Summer Was The 3rd Hottest On Record
April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
This has been a summer for setting climate/environmental records. The US has had a record-breaking fire season, with over 8 million acres ablaze. The Antarctic Sea Ice has melted to record-breaking low extent. And now this summer has become the third warmest on record.But that's not all. Scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center say this was the 16th warmest August since we started keeping records in the 1880's. Combine that with the hottest July on record and a warmer than average June, and the summer of 2012 is the 3rd hottest summer on record as well.
August 2012 has also won the distinction of being the 330th consecutive month in which temperatures worldwide were above the 20th century average. The average temperature on land and over the ocean was 61.2 degrees Fahrenheit (16.2 Celsius), 1.1 degree above the century´s average, the agency said on Monday. The most unusual warmth occurred across parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including most of the United States and Canada, southern and Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan and eastern Siberia.
Extreme droughts in the USA, eastern Russia and India all contributed to the high heat. Drought keeps the atmosphere from having the moisture needed to lower the heat. The change from La Nina to El Nino also helped to drive global temperatures.
NOAA reports that higher-than-average temperatures occurred across much of the West. Nevada tied August 1934 as its warmest August on record, with a statewide temperature 4.0°F above average. Six additional states across the region had August temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Much of the Northeast was also warmer than average, where five states from Maine to Delaware had monthly temperatures among their ten warmest.
Drier-than-average conditions stretched from the Pacific Northwest, through the Rockies, and into the Upper Midwest. Nebraska, Washington, and Wyoming each had their driest August on record. Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon each had a top ten dry August.
The Palmer Drought Index, which goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, tells us that 55.1 percent of the contiguous United States was in moderate to extreme drought in August, a decrease of about 3 percent compared to the previous month. The percent of the country in severe to extreme drought increased to 39.0 percent, indicating that the drought has intensified. The 2012 values have been exceeded only by the droughts of the 1930s and 1950s.
The strange weather records don't stop there, however. Hurricane Isaac, which made landfall August 28th along the Louisiana coastline, contributed to Mississippi's second wettest August on record, as well as Florida´s fourth wettest and Alabama´s eighth wettest.
This summer has been a record breaker in so many aspects, and none of them particularly good for us, or the Earth. It does make you wonder how the winter will be affected.