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

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Quoting Tazmanian:



Nice. Mine iPad 2 was newer so it came with iOS 5.1.1 out of the box


I know you are tech nut and will enjoy it. I'm in a car in Auburn now. I love the mobility. It's a great tool that I use in my publishing business every day. And it comes in handy as the tropical season heat up...BTW, I think this season will throw us a few surprises. I expect a conus hit.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
RitaEvac nice to see your back, great call on Ernesto last week. You really nailed it.


Just followed NHC track really
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yep! And they took a picture too!



Twit! :)
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Quoting Grothar:


Weather98. Must you really ask a question like that after all this time? :)


Yes I must:)
Just call me Harrison
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Quoting Grothar:


Thanks, Pat. I guess my problem with aphids on our hibiscus really pales into comparison with this. I will sleep much better now.


If you survived the mass kt extinction what's a little solar flare?
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Quoting weatherh98:


Exactly.
How'd u know that?


Weather98. Must you really ask a question like that after all this time? :)
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989. JLPR2
Here's a positive between the negatives of entering the Caribbean.



TCHP increases at 55W.
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Quoting kmanislander:
The shortwave IR loop does not show much rotation to speak of

actually it does show it this may help you zoom right in and slow the speed and plus you may want to look at RGB as well it also shows it though not so well on niether of them so we will have to wait till morning/sunrise but I believe there is still a LL circulation there
although I'm kinda guessing I think the center is at 13.5N 54.0W
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Huge Stripe On The Sun - Is Earth In Serious Danger?
10 August, 2012


MessageToEagle.com - The Sun's odd behavior has been mentioned on many occasions recently. As we all await the Solar Cycle 24, scientists keep a close eye on the Sun.

Now astronomers have discovered huge dark strip on the surface of the Sun. It is estimated this filament is about 800,000 km in length!

Astrophysicists presume dark spots on the Sun are areas where the temperature is lower. However what we see here is not a normal sunspot and it is growing at an alarming rate.

According to researchers the region has increased to almost one million kilometers in just three days.

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.

Commenting on the study of the dangers of "space weather", astrophysicist Daniel Baker claimed that the effects will be comparable to a nuclear war or the fall of a giant asteroid.



This filament happened on Aug. 5th, 2012.
11 images were put together to create this huge filamament on the Sun.
Photo Credits: Leonard E. Mercer,
amateur astronomer from Malta, who contributes with many astrophotos.


Thanks, Pat. I guess my problem with aphids on our hibiscus really pales into comparison with this. I will sleep much better now.
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Quoting Grothar:


Like Call of Duty, eh?


Exactly.
How'd u know that?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
OMG Patrap WTH is that dark strip on the sun, I've never seen anything like it on the sun before! NASA predicting outbreaks of UNPRECEDENTED power?? Glad scientists are just throwing out educated guesses with it. Be really glad when those guesses turn out wrong. If not, talk about a DOOM Level 10 event possibility.
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Quoting palmpt:


Good for you, Taz. Hope you are doing well. I'm on an I-pad 2 also...



Nice. Mine iPad 2 was newer so it came with iOS 5.1.1 out of the box
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
983. Hugo5
Quoting Patrap:
Huge Stripe On The Sun - Is Earth In Serious Danger?
10 August, 2012


MessageToEagle.com - The Sun's odd behavior has been mentioned on many occasions recently. As we all await the Solar Cycle 24, scientists keep a close eye on the Sun.

Now astronomers have discovered huge dark strip on the surface of the Sun. It is estimated this filament is about 800,000 km in length!

Astrophysicists presume dark spots on the Sun are areas where the temperature is lower. However what we see here is not a normal sunspot and it is growing at an alarming rate.

According to researchers the region has increased to almost one million kilometers in just three days.

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.

Commenting on the study of the dangers of "space weather", astrophysicist Daniel Baker claimed that the effects will be comparable to a nuclear war or the fall of a giant asteroid.




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.
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Right at the end of the run look at west carrib.
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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Relix:
Its looking better... now all it needs to do is visit Puerto Rico and Ill be happy.


Totally agree. I'd LOVE if TD7 makes a BIG northward jog. Let's say .. 2 degrees up its current latitude lol. God i NEED MORE RAIN. Dominica, Martinique, and St lucia don't need it.. they are wet already.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Do you like it?
.


Yes Marh better then the android I was going to get the new iPad but I here it was hveyer and more bugey so the iPad 2 was better for me the the new iPad and I can't wait in tell iOS 6 comes out of beta I hop you all keep your I pad up to date
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I would SERIOUSLY like to hear from persons - including Dr. Jeff Masters - on the topic of the serious need for MORE Scatterometer - like ASCAT, OSCAT and replacement for QuikSCAT - platforms that would give us more complete coverage of the open oceans, especially directly ahead (eastward) of the Lesser Antilles in my/our case.

Over the last two weeks between Ernesto and now TD7 the coverage from both ASCAT and OSCAT have been found wanting for the most part - missing areas, by the chance of the orbit, that we and the NHC could better have seen what was going on.

I am still convinced that Bill Proenza stance will be vindicated in time for his forward thinking, but then as usual, since US concerns are well covered by Doppler Radar all around and lots of buoys around the mainland/homeland too to help with NOWCasting or NearCasting, that so it (Scatterometers) become irrelevant or rather not needed for US mainland/homeland concerns. Maybe a tad selfish thinking ... ask the rest of the world!
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Quoting weatherh98:
Kino der toten!


Like Call of Duty, eh?
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Deleted
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TD7 is looking, for all the world, like 'the little depression that could.'I have been watching all day amid the blog nuttiness, and this little guy has just been plugging away, moistening his path and cruising along.

Speaking of longevity, I have been lurking since '06. I had another handle before this one, but the use of my initials was leading people to believe that I was a Meteorologist, rather than a newbie.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Not your business, senor Kori.


Señor kori to you
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Quoting stillwaiting:
no talk of a possible surface low forming off south florida??,tomorrow's gonna be interesting in that i think we'll have some tropical formation close to home as the area remains stationary,flares up convection as it organizes and drift into the gom,maybe the central gom


There is a tropical wave axis currently moving thru the Florida Straits and towards the Keys...not much to shout about on the 850mb vorticity map and surface pressures aren't falling in the area. There is also a mid level spin to the W of the Straits enhancing convection in the area. The Key West forecast discussion actually explains the setup really well.
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Southwest Quadrant and Filament (Friday) - By Ron Cottrell

www.solarham.net
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Quoting kmanislander:


Come mista tally man tally mi banana


Dayo!
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Quoting Tazmanian:
Hi guys on my iPad 2


Good for you, Taz. Hope you are doing well. I'm on an I-pad 2 also...
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By Eugene Robinson, Published: August 9

Excuse me, folks, but the weather is trying to tell us something.
Listen carefully, and you can almost hear a parched, raspy voice whispering: "What part of -- hottest month ever -- do you people not understand?"

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July was indeed the hottest month in the contiguous United States since record-keeping began more than a century ago. That distinction was previously held by July 1936, which came at the height of the Dust Bowl calamity that devastated the American heartland.

The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees - a full 3.3 degrees warmer than the 20th-century norm for July. This follows the warmest 12-month period ever recorded in the United States, and it continues a long-term trend that is obvious to all except those who stubbornly close their eyes: Of the 10 hottest years on record, nine have occurred since 2000.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-rob inson-heating-up-debate-on-climate-change/2012/08/ 09/d81a9986-e259-11e1-a25e-15067bb31849_story.html
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Kino der toten!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Huge Stripe On The Sun - Is Earth In Serious Danger?
10 August, 2012


MessageToEagle.com - The Sun's odd behavior has been mentioned on many occasions recently. As we all await the Solar Cycle 24, scientists keep a close eye on the Sun.

Now astronomers have discovered huge dark strip on the surface of the Sun. It is estimated this filament is about 800,000 km in length!

Astrophysicists presume dark spots on the Sun are areas where the temperature is lower. However what we see here is not a normal sunspot and it is growing at an alarming rate.

According to researchers the region has increased to almost one million kilometers in just three days.

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.

Commenting on the study of the dangers of "space weather", astrophysicist Daniel Baker claimed that the effects will be comparable to a nuclear war or the fall of a giant asteroid.


Great, now Fujuwhara on the Sun!
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RitaEvac nice to see your back, great call on Ernesto last week. You really nailed it.
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Quoting LoneStarWeather:

Where are you located? They have a couple of really good German restaurants in New Braunfels.


Oh I would love a good German meal! My dad bought into a German restaurant when I was a teenager in San Diego and it was SO good. The Jaegerschniztle and goulash with spaeztle noodles or potato pancakes. I keep thinking of bugging him to dig up the recipes for me as there are no proper German restaurants in the N/W UK. Only a few like, sausage-bier haus type places. Which I think is odd being the proximity to Germany...but the British don't like the Germans in general, so.... maybe why LOL

Ok, I just saw the reclass for Ernesto in the EPac, shame.

Think I Need to go look back some pages for all the maps everyone puts up I with all the talk of TD7 not looking good still or 97L...not that I mind looking at the maps and sat images :D I'm actually quite appreciative you all do, as I'm only on mobile internet dongle on my laptop, so really nice having it in one spot as it's not terribly fast and I do have a data limit LOL
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Do you like it?

Not your business, senor Kori.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
Hi guys on my iPad 2


Do you like it?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting LoneStarWeather:

I knew you had it in you! It's been a few years since my college German. But you get the idea. :)


How many years did you take?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Huge Stripe On The Sun - Is Earth In Serious Danger?
10 August, 2012


MessageToEagle.com - The Sun's odd behavior has been mentioned on many occasions recently. As we all await the Solar Cycle 24, scientists keep a close eye on the Sun.

Now astronomers have discovered huge dark strip on the surface of the Sun. It is estimated this filament is about 800,000 km in length!

Astrophysicists presume dark spots on the Sun are areas where the temperature is lower. However what we see here is not a normal sunspot and it is growing at an alarming rate.

According to researchers the region has increased to almost one million kilometers in just three days.

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.

Commenting on the study of the dangers of "space weather", astrophysicist Daniel Baker claimed that the effects will be comparable to a nuclear war or the fall of a giant asteroid.



This filament happened on Aug. 5th, 2012.
11 images were put together to create this huge filamament on the Sun.
Photo Credits: Leonard E. Mercer,
amateur astronomer from Malta, who contributes with many astrophotos.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Hi guys on my iPad 2
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tribucanes:
Blog is virtually troll free now, it's great. When accusing wishcasters of embellishing is as bad as it gets; then you know it's going okay. First case of West Nile found here in SC Wisconsin last week. New swine flu that's been found to be out there now too.


Dallas County declares emergency after West Nile deaths



Dallas County has declared a public health emergency amid a West Nile virus outbreak that has infected 175 people, killing nine of them.

Judge Clay Jenkins instructed the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department to file a local disaster declaration with the state that will open the door for getting more resources to prevent the spread of the virus, which is transmitted to humans through infected mosquitoes.

As Dallas County grapples with an especially active West Nile season, Houston health officials have so far tallied seven cases of the virus, including one death in July of a woman from the northeast part of the city.

Read more: Houston reports first West Nile death

Health officials across the state urge residents to protect themselves against the virus, including using insect repellents that contain DEET, draining any standing water in their yards, dressing in long, loose and light-colored clothing.

There are no vaccines to prevent West Nile infections and no medications to treat the disease, which is more dangerous to people over 50.

Texas has so far recorded most cases of the illness than any other state with 205 as of Aug. 7, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Blob to the NW of TD7 is in an environment that's been enhanced by the remnants of Flo over the last 48 hours. Still amazed at how it mirrors TD7 so well. Anyone else have an opinion about this mirroring effect? I wouldn't be shocked to see a yellow circle around this disturbance later tonight.


TD 7 seems to have been able to grab some moisture from the south. Even though there is dry to the North, I am not willing to write it off yet. Shear tendency also looks like it may be dropping a little.


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TD 7 WV Loop

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Quoting Grothar:


I would hope so, since I am German and went to school there. It helps. :)

hahaha! I imagine so. :)
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Blog is virtually troll free now, it's great. When accusing wishcasters of embellishing is as bad as it gets; then you know it's going okay. First case of West Nile found here in SC Wisconsin last week. New swine flu that's been found to be out there now too.
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Quoting LoneStarWeather:

I knew you had it in you! It's been a few years since my college German. But you get the idea. :)


I would hope so, since I am German and went to school there. It helps. :)
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no talk of a possible surface low forming off south florida??,tomorrow's gonna be interesting in that i think we'll have some tropical formation close to home as the area remains stationary,flares up convection as it organizes and drift into the gom,maybe the central gom
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Translation: No! German tonight!


He was trying to write "German, all night".
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Quoting Patrap:
Daylight come and I wanna go Home...




Come mista tally man tally mi banana
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Quoting Grothar:


I really should have joined then. One wonders why there are so many lurkers, even now. I would read the comments and was amazed. I remember the first time I got banned. I was so embarrassed. My family made me a little dunce cap and told me to go stand in the corner.

Speaking of bans, has anyone been put in time out this season yet?
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Quoting SunnyDaysFla:


They are spraying for EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis)

LOL was wondering if I had it wrong, thanks for the correction! I moved here recently from DFW, and everything sounds strange. The reporters never went into detail.
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Daylight come and I wanna go Home...


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Quoting Grothar:


That would be "Deutsch nur, die ganze Nacht", but good try.

I knew you had it in you! It's been a few years since my college German. But you get the idea. :)
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00z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
TD #7

Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)




Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)






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