Meteorologists of NOAA conclude the high summer temperatures experienced in the US make the months of June, July and August 2011 the second hottest summer in recorded history.
August temperature record
Especially in the southern states temperatures have been well above the climate average. Most notable was the excessive heat in the states of Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico that experienced the hottest month of August ever recorded. This was also the case for parts of Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida.
The average US August temperature was with 75.7 degrees Fahrenheit (24.3 degrees Celsius) 3 degrees above the average over the 20th century.
Record number hot summer days
The southern heat was not limited to August though, but stretched out over the summer months, from the summer start on the first of June. The average US summer temperature amounted to 74.5 degrees Fahrenheit (23.6 degrees Celsius), 2.4 degrees above climate average.
Locally in Texas and the south of California and Arizona more than 70 summer days were measured during which temperatures exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 degrees Celsius. Texas experienced the hottest summer ever.
Summer precipitation below average, unlike Europe
The US summer precipitation in 2011 was below average, much in contrast with the 2011 summer pattern in Western Europe, where after a very sunny and dry spring temperatures rose early and summer precipitation was record high.
US summer and spring of 2011
According to NOAA also the range from March to August, combining spring and summer, showed record-high temperatures for much of the Southern and Eastern US. The US Northwest still had somewhat colder temperatures, possibly a remnant of the 2010-2011 La Niña, which NOAA by the way says could return later this year.
2011 climate records: NOAA vs NSIDC
Meanwhile there is a striking comparison between the US summer and the Arctic summer, as perhaps both are in for second on record. The Arctic though is still in the race to beat the 2007 melting record, which it would then have to do in the days ahead.
© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org