August 8, 2012 by David K. Sutton
NOAA says July 2012 was “all-time warmest month on record for the nation”
Modern temperature records go back to 1895, and July 2012 is now ranked among those records as the all-time warmest month. In the State of the Climate report, NOAA says the average July 2012 temperature for the contiguous United States was 77.6, beating the old record of 77.4 set in July 1936. That might not seem like a big difference, but keep in mind we are comparing record-breaking numbers here, and this particular number is an average for the entire month. So a 0.2 degree increase is actually fairly significant. If you don’t find that at least a bit alarming, the January to July 2012 period was the warmest first seven months ever. As in, it has never happened before, at least not in the time we have kept records.
Additional statistics from NOAA:
- The first seven months of 2012 were drier than average, ranking as the 15th driest January-July on record.
- The August 2011-July 2012 period was the warmest 12-month period of any 12-months on record for the contiguous U.S.
- According to the July 31, 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), 62.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of July.
- The warm and dry conditions over a large portion of the country were associated with ideal wildfire conditions. Over 2 million acres were burned nationwide during July due to wildfires, nearly half a million acres above average, and the fourth most in the 13-year period of record.