July 2012 Officially the Hottest Month on Record for Lower 48

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I want to kick this guy right in his fireballs.
  • I want to kick this guy right in his fireballs.
That life-wrecking July we just survived has already been certified the hottest, nastiest month on record for St. Louis. Today, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed that July was a ballbreaker all over the contiguous United States. With an average national temperature of 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, July 2012 is now the hottest month America has experienced since 1895 (the year records first were kept).

But wait, it gets worse. The past 12 months have also been the hottest on record for the country. I don't want to offend anybody's deeply-felt convictions by mentioning global warming, so I'll just say "schmobal schwarming?" and tilt my head to the side like an inquisitive dog.
The NOAA scientists have compiled an interesting graph of recorded temperature extremes for the US at their website, which is pasted below (and visible in a larger format here).

Temp_Average_all_years.jpg



The five hottest years (1998, 2006, 1934, 1999, 1921) are marked in orange, and the five coolest years are marked in blue (1917, 1912, 1895, 1924, 1903). You may notice that three of the five hottest years are of a rather recent vintage; none of the five coolest years are. In fact, we haven't seen a truly record cold year since 1924.You may also notice that 2012, while data are preliminary, is already well above the highest ever temperature. The average national temperature for the first seven months of this year is 4.3 degrees higher than the norm -- that's a sharp increase. By way of comparison, the July we just had that set the record nationally was only two-tenths of a degree higher than the previous record (77.6 degrees as opposed to 77.4 degrees).

In other words, it looks like 1921 is about to get knocked off orange part of the graph, and 2012 will take it's place. And then four out of five of the hottest years will be of recent vintage. 

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