Record temperatures continue to be set across the United States as considerable heat covers much of the country. The increasing influence of global warming is a major contributing factor, with greenhouse gases increasing in the atmosphere daily. In fact we have seen 328 consecutive months where the monthly temperatures have been warmer than the 20th century average.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released their monthly update. The warmest twelve month period ever recorded is now officially July 2011 through June 2012. This surpassed the average temperature reported last month for the twelve month period between June 2011 and May 2012. The trend is expected to continue as temperatures are predicted to remain above average for the foreseeable future.
Overall, the beginning of 2012, January through June, is officially the warmest first half of the year ever recorded for the contiguous U.S.. The average temperature for the time period was found to be 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit. This was 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average. This data follows previous reports that 2012 also has the warmest spring on record as well.
As for just the month of June 2012, it was found to rank as the 14th warmest on record. The average for the contiguous U.S. was found to be 71.2 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 2 degrees greater than the 20th century average. 170 cities across the U.S. had record-tying or record-breaking temperatures during the month. June was also found to be the 10th driest June on record, a contributing factor to major wildfires across the country. Fifty-six percent of the contiguous nation is considered to be under drought conditions.
Overall the majority of the contiguous U.S. experienced higher than average temperatures, often setting records, during the first six months of the year. The only location in the contiguous U.S. excluded from this was the Pacific Northwest, including Washington and Oregon.