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: 645 - 595

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

Quoting KoritheMan:


As I said the other day, if I'm not allowed to chase a hurricane, it will either be tornadoes or snowstorms. Hell to the yeah!

If it's an el nino winter can you take me as well? jk, I want to see snow and el nino kills winter here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 954FtLCane:


thanks.

Or pay the very reasonable $5 for ad free.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Gaara:
For those interested, I snagged a few loops of the MCV that caused a confirmed tornado in Suffolk County and a probable tournado in Glastonbury, CT.



Looks like TS Lee from couple years ago.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:

It hasn't formed yet. :P


Not many systems cross and even retain any structure at all so I give credit where credit is due ;P As I joked last night, it would be pretty interesting if newbie-Ernesto is still kicking around as a cyclone and TD07/93L are not by the end of the weekend.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
640. Gaara
For those interested, I snagged a few loops of the MCV that caused a confirmed tornado in Suffolk County and a probable tournado in Glastonbury, CT.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Yes but it also causes wet falls/winters for my area and cooler air.


.....and "Warm" during the winter for the NE isn't 60 degree weather. More like 25-30 degree weather compared to 10 degree weather. There will be snow fall regardless. I personally love El Nino winters here in Houston. It is cold (to our standards, I lived in Chicago and know what real cold is) and gloomy/wet during winter. Last winter we didn't even have a freeze lol!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:

..ttt......this is the link for hurricane hunter jobs,qualifications etc
..ttt..scroll down the blog for the link i posted
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


As I said the other day, if I'm not allowed to chase a hurricane, it will either be tornadoes or snowstorms. Hell to the yeah!
wanna come pick me up?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:
I think we'll have TS Gordon by 10pm CST.

Nope.

10/2345 UTC 13.7N 53.0W T1.5/1.5 07L -- Atlantic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:
I think we'll have TS Gordon by 10pm CST.


System has done a good job of sustaining convection albeit small. Unlike Ernesto that was lacking Upper divergence thus weaker convection.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

They've not initiated advisories just yet, atmos, lol. The East Pacific has had many 60%-100% Code Red busts this season.


Lol I understand but the upper level environment is favorable and the waters are plenty warm. I'd put a safe bet on this one at least becoming a depression from what I see. Looks impressive on satellite imagery too.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


and COOL FOR THE SOUTHEAST!!!!!
Its Snowtime.... i hope

NO, I want snow not warmth!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Um, El Nino actually causes warmth over the northeast:

Yes but it also causes wet falls/winters for my area and cooler air.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes305:


93L should start to get going once it finds its self in warmer waters to combat dry air the WNW track should continue through Sunday. With a more W track as the high rebuild over the system. It shouldn't ramp up until it reaches west of 60W. Anywhere from the SE US to Bermuda should watch 93L.


And the gulf states but I agree, it is a little to early for that. All depends on how strong the system gets before reaching the islands.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


and COOL FOR THE SOUTHEAST!!!!!
Its Snowtime.... i hope


As I said the other day, if I'm not allowed to chase a hurricane, it will either be tornadoes or snowstorms. Hell to the yeah!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormpetrol:
I think we'll have TS Gordon by 10pm CST.

I think you maybe right
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Um, El Nino actually causes warmth over the northeast:



and COOL FOR THE SOUTHEAST!!!!!
Its Snowtime.... i hope
Member Since: Posts: Comments:




Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
93L is over cool waters, which is one of the main reasons it is having a hard time right now. Should enter warmer waters in 72 hours or so.

SST (C) 26.3 25.8 25.6 25.3 25.1 25.5 26.3 26.8 27.2 27.6 27.9 28.1 27.9


93L should start to get going once it finds its self in warmer waters to combat dry air the WNW track should continue through Sunday. With a more W track as the high rebuild over the system. It shouldn't ramp up until it reaches west of 60W. Anywhere from the SE US to Bermuda should watch 93L.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
yes but its about gone now, but things can change, we will see tomorrow


Lack of convection =/= gone.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
Well we had some torrential rains this morning so that help with it.When El nino fully develops I expect a wet fall/winter with some good snows this upcoming winter hopefully.

Rain is nice.But they don't need it all at once though :).


Um, El Nino actually causes warmth over the northeast:

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT FRI AUG 10 2012

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
DEPRESSION SEVEN...LOCATED ABOUT 450 MILES EAST OF BARBADOS.

SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY REMAINS MINIMAL NEAR A BROAD LOW
PRESSURE AREA LOCATED OVER THE FAR EASTERN ATLANTIC JUST TO THE
NORTH OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. ANY DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS
LIKELY TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR UNTIL THE LOW REACHES WARMER WATERS IN A
COUPLE OF DAYS. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 20 MPH.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


Yea but what do they do? What's there job


Sit around, read models, maps and give their opinion on what they think will happen. I personally, would love that job!

It is just like an being an Engineer. They know everything and when they are wrong, they have a legitimate reason for being wrong.

However, when they are wrong (for trying to save lives) people make fun of them. We all have heard the "weather man said 10% chance of rain and it flooded today" quotes from just about everyone we know at some point. It comes with the job and we all know the people that say that are clueless as to what they are talking about!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


LOL. Don't cry! I said you were alright with me....


yeah it a bit of both cry with joy for second chance but also cry with sadness we me being on that dreaded list in the first place
weap lol
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:

Yes, but nearly all of the global models were hellbent on developing it. And it's not as if it lacks historical precedent.
yes but its about gone now, but things can change, we will see tomorrow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
In related news:



and



and



and



and




Lest I be accused of bias, here are the global ice levels...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wxchaser97:

Had 1-2" of rain today and more tomorrow. We are getting out of drought where I'm at.
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


They need an Allison! ;P
Well we had some torrential rains this morning so that help with it.When El nino fully develops I expect a wet fall/winter with some good snows this upcoming winter hopefully.

Rain is nice.But they don't need it all at once though :).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
..............here you go.............Link
..ttt......this is the link for hurricane hunter jobs,qualifications etc
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Quoting LargoFl:
........................................looks like the one just off africa is going poof..down to 20% now...remember how some got so excited and how BIG it was on land?..once they hit the water things change huh,sure did this time
Yes, but nearly all of the global models were hellbent on developing it. And it's not as if it lacks historical precedent.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I think we'll have TS Gordon by 10pm CST.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Uhh...they issue advisories on tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and East Pacific.

Franklin...Stewart...Avila...Beven...Berg...Kimbe rlain...etc


I've never heard of Kimbe or Rlain before. Who are they?

...Lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Uhh...they issue advisories on tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and East Pacific.

Franklin...Stewart...Avila...Beven...Berg...Kimbe rlain...etc


Okay that's what I wanted to know thanks.

Im out for now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
........................................looks like the one just off africa is going poof..down to 20% now...remember how some got so excited and how BIG it was on land?..once they hit the water things change huh,sure did this time
Yes but it still has a nice structure and low with it.Once it reaches warmer waters expect to see increase in organization.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
We here in D.C could use the remnants of a T.S here.We're more than 6 inches below for the year.Well at least it's not as worse as it is for those folks in the Mid-west.They need a typhoon tip type system.

Had 1-2" of rain today and more tomorrow. We are getting out of drought where I'm at.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
chat anyone?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
609. JLPR2
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
000
NOUS42 KNHC 091442
REPRPD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT FRI 09 AUGUST 2012
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 10/1100Z TO 11/1100Z AUGUST 2012
TCPOD NUMBER.....12-083

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA EAST OF ISLANDS
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70 --
A. 11/1200Z
B. AFXXX 01BBA INVEST
C. 11/0915Z
D. 13.8N 56.0W
E. 11/1130Z TO 11/1800Z
F. SFC TO 10,000FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: BEGIN 6 HOURLY FIXES AT
12/0000Z NEAR 14.0N AND 60W IF SYSTEM IS A THREAT.


Neat, if TD 7 looks decent tomorrow a look at its lower structure would be nice.

It could be developing more convection and its LLC starting to disorganize, one never knows...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting LargoFl:
........................................looks like the one just off africa is going poof..down to 20% now...remember how some got so excited and how BIG it was on land?..once they hit the water things change huh,sure did this time


Give it time to get used to water
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So as I am the only Screamer on here at the moment then:-
with crop/grain prices up by about 17% this last month and rainfall down and expected to stay that way the dice fell to the southern hemisphere who unfortunately have been having a few floods and localised catastrophe's.
Added to the above we seem to be experiencing a shade too much heat and melting in the most Northerly regions which may lead to problems later in the century.
Basic advise folks;-
Stock up on what you can, whilst you can?

So Gordan's a cert for the shear/fish bin but here comes Issac bold and untainted soon to tantalize!
PS, I don't believe a word of it, sometimes!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
We here in D.C could use the remnants of a T.S here.We're more than 6 inches below for the year.Well at least it's not as worse as it is for those folks in the Mid-west.They need a typhoon tip type system.


They need an Allison! ;P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


What do they do? Duh

Uhh...they issue advisories on tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and East Pacific.

Franklin...Stewart...Avila...Beven...Berg...Kimbe rlain...etc
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I just wrote a NEW BLOG if you're interested.


disagree with recurvature for the month of August as the high will rebound and build back after any troughs breaks it down. However, it more likely for September as anything that forms before 50W and north of 15N is most likely to recurve as a lot more deeper trough weaken the high's grip.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:


Specialize in hurricanes. Lol.


Yea but what do they do? What's there job
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
........................................looks like the one just off africa is going poof..down to 20% now...remember how some got so excited and how BIG it was on land?..once they hit the water things change huh,sure did this time
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


What do they do? Duh


Specialize in hurricanes. Lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmosweather:


The global models performed spectacularly well forecasting a pretty rare scenario.

They've not initiated advisories just yet, atmos, lol. The East Pacific has had many 60%-100% Code Red busts this season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We here in D.C could use the remnants of a T.S here.We're more than 6 inches below for the year.Well at least it's not as worse as it is for those folks in the Mid-west.They need a typhoon tip type system.


My peeps aren't on tonight.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Hurricane Specialist Unit...duh.


What do they do? Duh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
NOUS42 KNHC 091442
REPRPD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT FRI 09 AUGUST 2012
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 10/1100Z TO 11/1100Z AUGUST 2012
TCPOD NUMBER.....12-083

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA EAST OF ISLANDS
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70 --
A. 11/1200Z
B. AFXXX 01BBA INVEST
C. 11/0915Z
D. 13.8N 56.0W
E. 11/1130Z TO 11/1800Z
F. SFC TO 10,000FT

2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: BEGIN 6 HOURLY FIXES AT
12/0000Z NEAR 14.0N AND 60W IF SYSTEM IS A THREAT.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NHC going to wait as long as possible to rename Ernesto, just so there is no questioning the renaming process. I was never sold Ernesto ever died. Think COC relocated, and I'm not sold at all that 25mph winds and pressures as high as they stated were ever accurate. They have better tools than me, but by satellite presentation I think Ernesto really pulled off the rare feat by surviving the trip to the Pacific. Too bad it won't be considered as such for the record books.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Quoting atmosweather:


The global models performed spectacularly well forecasting a pretty rare scenario.
It hasn't formed yet. :P
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 645 - 595

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