July 2012: hottest month in U.S. history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:16 PM GMT on August 10, 2012

During the 1930s, a series of epic heat waves gripped the U.S., drying up the soil in an unprecedented drought that brought about the great Dust Bowl. The most intense heat hit during July 1936, which set a record for hottest month in U.S. history that stood for 76 years. That iconic record has now fallen, bested by 0.2°F during July 2012, which is now the hottest month in U.S. history, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) this week. So far in 2012, we've had the warmest March on record, 3rd warmest April, 2nd warmest May, and warmest July. These remarkably warm months have helped push temperatures in the contiguous U.S. to the warmest on record for the year-to-date period of January - July, and for the 12-month period August 2011 - July 2012. Twenty-four states were record warm for that 12-month period, and an additional twenty states were top-ten warm. The past fourteen months have featured America's 2nd warmest summer (in 2011), 4th warmest winter, and warmest spring. The summer of 2012 is on pace to be a top-five warmest summer on record, and could beat the summer of 1936 as the warmest summer in U.S. history.


Figure 1. When the temperature peaked at an all-time high of 108° in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 14, 1936, the want-ad staff at the 'St. Paul Daily News' was provided with 400 pounds of ice and two electric fans to cool the air in the press room. Photo from the Minnesota Historical Society.


Figure 2. Year-to-date temperature, by month, for 2012 (red), compared to the other 117 years on record for the contiguous U.S., with the five ultimately warmest years (orange) and five ultimately coolest years (blue) noted. The 2012 data are still preliminary. The year-to-date period of January - July was the warmest on record by a huge margin--1.0°F. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.


Figure 3. For the fourth consecutive month, a new U.S. record for hottest 12-month period was set in July 2012. Five of the top-ten warmest 12-month periods in the contiguous U.S. since 1895 have occurred since April 2011. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

Most extreme January - July period on record
NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI), which tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought, was 46% during the year-to-date January - July period. This is the highest value since CEI record-keeping began in 1910, and more than twice the average value. Remarkably, 83% of the contiguous U.S. had maximum temperatures that were in the warmest 10% historically during the first seven months of 2012, and 74% of the U.S. of the U.S. had warm minimum temperatures in the top 10%. The percentage area of the U.S. experiencing top-10% drought conditions was 20%, which was the 16th greatest since 1910. Extremes in 1-day heavy precipitation events were the 24th greatest in the 103-year record.


Figure 4. NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - July shows that 2012 has had the most extreme first seven months of the year on record, with 46% of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% extreme weather.

Little change to the U.S. drought during the past week
The great U.S. drought of 2012 remained about the same size and intensity over the past week, said NOAA in their weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report issued Thursday, August 9. The area of the contiguous U.S. covered by drought dropped slightly, from 63% to 62%, and the area covered by severe or greater drought stayed constant at 46%. The area of the country in the worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) doubled from 10 percent last month to 22 percent this month. The extreme dryness and excessive heat devastated crops and livestock from the Great Plains to Midwest. During July, the area of the U.S. covered by moderate or greater drought was 57%, ranking as the 5th largest drought in U.S. history:

1) Jul 1934, 80%
2) Dec 1939, 60%
3) Jul 1954, 60%
4) Dec 1956, 58%
5) Jul 2012, 57%



Video 1. This is Not Cool: Peter Sinclair's July 2012 video from the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media couples historical footage with contemporary clips and news segments. In one of the latter, for instance, NBC anchor Brian Williams opens the network’s flagship news program with the words: “It’s now official. We are living in one of the worst droughts of the past 100 years.” NASA scientist James Hansen is featured testifying about risks of “extreme droughts” in the nation’s breadbasket, and I'm featured in a few clips talking about the drought of 2012.

I'll have a new post by noon Saturday.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a post looking back at the great Heat Wave of July 1936.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1245 - 1195

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35Blog Index

1245. sar2401
Quoting AussieStorm:
TD-07 looks like an open wave and not a TD.



Aussie, even though WKC will no doubt vehemently disagree, it looks like a tropical wave to me as well. Maybe it was too many years of sailing in the Caribbean but, if I saw this on my radar, I'd avoid it, but not be too concerned about making a run for it either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:
TD-07 looks like an open wave and not a TD.

I actually agree it is getting elongated and i wont be surprised if it does degenerate into an open wave
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1243. Msdrown
Quoting Grothar:


here you go. This loop was posted by Msdrown by proxy




Thanks Grother, I'm computer challenged. But this one is more recent then Pats and it has moved ashore and is more concentrated. It doesn't seem to have any spin anymore. Puzzeling??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
It's getting elongated.



If that's the COC underneath that big blob of convection, then it's definitely looking a little better than it did earlier today!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1240. sar2401
Quoting Msdrown:
NOLA local news just reported the cold front is going to extend all the way down to the Gulf Coast and a little farther south into the GOM. Anticipating heavy thundershower local LA, MS,AL through the AM. Same thing we have been experiencing from SE TX to Main the last few days.


The term "cold front" may be a little misleading. It's a stationary front in Texas and a "Not as Hot Front" in AL. The NAH front has already passed through central Al and we are still getting training thunderstorms, especially far to the north of the NAH front. The temperature, even though we've been worked over by thunderstorms all day, is still an unpleasantly humid 79. The forecast for tomorrow is a high of 88, compared to 91 today, and a low of 68, compared to 73 yesterday. If it get down to 68, I'll eat my shoe. It looks like we will have about 18 hours of very slightly drier air and then the southwest flow kicks right back in Sunday. I don't think this NAF front will have any effect on TD7 at all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TD-07 looks like an open wave and not a TD.



Any political comments will be and
It's a weather blog. Only time that s*** should come in here is if it effects NWS/NOAA/NHC/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Its an aggressive move, it definitely is a play at the people who want to balance the budget quickly. Ryan is a big supporter of slashing budget to reduce the deficit.


Well, anything to knock Barry out of office!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:
TD7 needs to slow down to have any chance at surviving.

On the contrary, 7 has to step on it and get to first base of Venezuela.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1235. Grothar
Quoting Msdrown:



Does anybody think this has spin or will turn into anything?? The darn radar in Miami didn't attach. There is some what looks like rotating thunder clouds off of south fla.


here you go. This loop was posted by Msdrown by proxy


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
I know you guys hate politics but Mitt Romney will announce Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate in my backyard, Norfolk, Va at 9am tomorrow morning.
Quoting ProgressivePulse:
NORFOLK, Va. -- Rep. Paul Ryan will be named Mitt Romney's running mate on Saturday, ending weeks of speculation about the No. 2 slot on the GOP ticket.

The Associated Press and several TV networks confirmed the news.


Who give a flying f....... Weather people weather please not polikicks.

Nice hot towers in ex-ernesto
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1231. Grothar
It's getting elongated.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
I lived in S.W. Florida then. We were wondering if we would be hit, but the hurricane tracked well west of us. We saw what happened up your way on the news. It was terrible.. You probably remember Eloise. A man I talked to said that the wind was horrific. It would gust to 150 and then slow down to below hurricane strength, rocking and ripping everything to shreds.Hurricane Eloise in the Gulf of Mexico before striking Florida...Formed September 13, 1975
Dissipated September 24, 1975
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:
125 mph (205 km/h)
Lowest pressure 955 mbar (hPa); 28.2 inHg
Fatalities 80 direct
Damage $560 million (1975 USD)
Areas affected Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Yucatán Peninsula, Florida, Eastern United States


I was at Keesler AFB for tech training in Sept-Oct when Hurricane Eloise was in the gulf.All I can remember is school was cancelled and it rained all morning with some moderate winds. I think it was supposed to be closer on landfall To Biloxi,but took a NE turn to hit the Florida Panhandle.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wunderkidcayman, I'm in St Maarten. That's in the Leeward islands. Now you understand why I want TD7 to climb lol!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TD7 needs to slow down to have any chance at surviving.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1227. Msdrown
Quoting Patrap:



Does anybody think this has spin or will turn into anything?? The darn radar in Miami didn't attach. There is some what looks like rotating thunder clouds off of south fla.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Anybody in South Florida experiencing the infestation of the spiraling white fly. It is virtually killing everything. First the ficus, now the palms and black olive trees. In the mornings, cars are covered with them and our pool has a white layer of film from the wings. No eradication plan for them either. Nothing kills them.
They seem to be becoming resistant to just about everything. Nothing seems to work for more than about a week. However, I have had luck with pyrethrin, which is natural. It's hard to find a full strength application, however. I'm thinking of mixing my own, if I can buy it stronger. It's so much better for the bees. I felt so bad this spring, because I was having to hand pollinate my cucumbers, then almost the very day I complained about it, they started arriving.

Then the white flies came, and I was at risk of losing everything, so I used a dust application, because sometimes it's the only thing I've found that works. I got the white flies, but my bumblebees got sick. I felt so bad. I washed one off and saved him. After that I decided I would just go back to pyrethrin once a week.

We may face serious consequences as more and more pests become resistant to what we have available. However, if my memory serves me, white flies have always been especially tough during some years. I remember my Dad had some DDT he saved from before the 1970's. When all else failed, that stuff would do the trick, but he very rarely used it. It was the only thing I recall working, one year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:


Nothing can top that...lol.


ditto...noooottthhiinnnggg.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting redwagon:
I'm starting to see where the call for dissipation is coming from. 7 has a rough night ahead, if he can just continue his forward speed and get up on SAmer, even if he almost flatlines he'll be able to tap daytime convection off the continent in the AM and not RIP.

I can kida see what you are getting at but stiil don't5 see dissipation at all right now I am jst waiting for it to pass the windward island before we can go into details about its future now I can wait for advisory to come out cause I'm tired been a long day and my hands feel like they are going to type mumble jumble up words
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
I know you guys hate politics but Mitt Romney will announce Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate in my backyard, Norfolk, Va at 9am tomorrow morning.


Wish it were our governor Bob McDonnell.... oh well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
I think its time to pull out the big globe.





Yeah, little globe has little to offer.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1215. Kumo
Quoting Hugo5:



This line "NASA forecasts that in September 2012, there will be outbreaks of unprecedented power. We can expect huge solar flares that can have serious effect world-wide" is asbsolute hog wash. I dare you to find any NASA official that would quote such rederic. This is an exageration at best, no official would say that they can forcast anything like this from the sun since they can not predict the appearance of a sun spot except a few days in advance.


Ditto on that, the sun is relatively quiet right now. Spot 1542 has been firing off C-class flares, but those are nowhere near what we would need to produce another "Carrington Event" (a.k.a. a power grid killer) here on earth. While there is a possibility of getting stronger X-class flares (X-10 and up) in the declining phase of solar maximum, getting a "Carrington Event" type flare is still a pretty slim possibility. The "Carrington Event" happened back in 1859 and ice core samples have shown that similar solar storms happen roughly every 500 years.

Reference: Link

Edit: Link to spaceweather.com, real time solar info.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1214. Grothar
I think its time to pull out the big globe.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
I know you guys hate politics but Mitt Romney will announce Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate in my backyard, Norfolk, Va at 9am tomorrow morning.



.......

thats all i have to say
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm starting to see where the call for dissipation is coming from. 7 has a rough night ahead, if he can just continue his forward speed and get up on SAmer, even if he almost flatlines he'll be able to tap daytime convection off the continent in the AM and not RIP.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
That's all I'm waiting for before heading to bed... lol


lol I'm heading to bed after advisory comes out
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I know you guys hate politics but Mitt Romney will announce Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate in my backyard, Norfolk, Va at 9am tomorrow morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
That's all I'm waiting for before heading to bed... lol



In my opinion, next TWO will be status quo. They won't change anything, if at all, until the HH mission in the morning.

Night to all!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1206. Grothar
Anybody here remember the Hurricane of 1926 in Miami?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
new advisory for TD 7 come out in 54mins or less
That's all I'm waiting for before heading to bed... lol

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1204. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
looks like check out time for me as well
check in some time tomorrow
to see whats happening in the basin
night to all


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
new advisory for TD 7 come out in 54mins or less
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1202. Msdrown
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
For your late night viewing pleasure, August 12.


Jupiter, Venus will be visable predawn Saturday the 12th in the SE sky about 7 o clock position from the cresent moon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1201. Msdrown
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
For your late night viewing pleasure, check out these simulated views of Earth from Mars

http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2012/08/10/what-do es-earth-look-like-from-mars/



That was pretty cool, makes you think what it would be like to be there in person. There was a good link my grandson with his fancy telescope can use. thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
PLS repeat on new page... TIA...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
ok 700mb stronger than before


and 500mb much better than before where it showed absoultly nothing now show something

500mb

I am expecting vort to increase in all 925-500mb throught the morning


That's why I asked. I was really looking to see what had changed in the 500.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What is this, hurricane throw back night? Lot of you ancient types here tonight, huh? :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ok 700mb stronger than before


and 500mb much better than before where it showed absoultly nothing now show something

500mb

I am expecting vort to increase in all 925-500mb throught the morning
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1245 - 1195

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35Blog Index

Top of Page

Category 6™

About

Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather