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 329 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 August 2011 through July 2012. This surpassed the average temperature reported last month for the twelve month period between July 2011 and June 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 July, is officially the warmest first seven months of the year ever recorded for the contiguous U.S.. Now recent data released by the NOAA indicates that July 2012 is now officially the warmest month ever on record. July was found to be 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit greater than the average of the 20th century at 77.6 degrees. This beat out the second warmest July, July 1936 at 77.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sixty-three percent of the contiguous nation is considered to be under drought conditions. Precipitation has been found to be 0.19 inches below average and is a contributing factor to major wildfires across the country. Over two million acres have been burned in wildfires during the month of July, which makes it the fourth greatest total recorded. It is approximately 500,000 acres above average for the month.
Overall the majority of the contiguous U.S. experienced higher than average temperatures, often setting records, during the first seven months of the year. A total of thirty-two states experienced July temperatures in their top ten.