Wednesday, August 09, 2017

July Was Record Hot for Parts of Alaska and the West

Monthly records for temperature and precipitation set in July in Alaska. (Credit: NOAA) Click to Enlarge.
The northernmost city in the United States just had its hottest July on record, as other spots in Alaska had their hottest month overall.  Heat records also fell in a few western cities, as well as the fearsomely hot Death Valley, where July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth.

Those hotspots stood out in what was the 10th hottest July on record for the Lower 48 states, topping off the second hottest year-to-date for the country by a hair, according to data released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Three states are having their hottest year on record more than halfway through the year, while several more are running in second or third place.

While weather patterns have a big impact on monthly temperatures — as the cooler weather of early August shows — the overall warming of the planet is tipping the odds in favor of record heat.  In fact July had four times as many daily record highs as record lows, according to meteorologist Guy Walton, who keeps track of such streaks using NOAA’s data.

The record heat in Alaska fell along the North Slope, which lies above the Arctic Circle, and the central interior of the state.

For the North Slope, “a fair chunk” of the heat could be attributed “to the very early loss of sea ice” that normally clings to the coast until August and keeps temperatures lower, Rick Thoman, climate science and services manager for the National Weather Service’s Alaska region, said. “There’s basically now no sea ice left within 200 miles of Alaska.”

Read more at July Was Record Hot for Parts of Alaska and the West

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