Climate News and Views
Summer Heat Wave in the US: Extreme and Pervasive
The summer 2011 heat wave in the United States was unusually hot, shown by the records of NOAA, kept by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). More warm temperature records were set or equalled during June, July, and August than in other summers in the past decade. More than 26,500 record warm temperatures were set across the nation. During this time, fewer than 3,500 record low temperatures were set, the fewest of any summer in the past decade. July may live in the record books for its extreme persistent heat, both during the day and at night. NOAA reported that "almost 9,000 daily records were broken or tied [in July], including 2,755 highest maximum temperatures and 6,171... high nighttime records." Of these 78 were all-time high maximum temperature records and 209 were all-time high minimum temperature records. "The minimum temperature records are particularly noteworthy," said NOAA, "because the higher nighttime temperatures give people less reprieve from the extreme daytime heat." Every state was affected. Christopher Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, was quoted in the NY Times: Summers are always hot, "but this is different," he said; this heat wave is exceptional not only for its strength, but also for its breadth and duration. And persistently warming temperatures through the past decade have changed the normal temperatures in the United States -- the record of averages over the past three decades against which daily readings are compared: Every state has both warmer highs and warmer lows, ranging from .1 to .9 degree F.
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