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Climate Change Becoming A Broken Record
Just today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its report on U.S. climate highlights for June. The following are some key findings taken directly from the summary:
The January-June period was the warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 52.9°F was 4.5°F above the 20th century average. Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the six-month period, except the Pacific Northwest. Twenty-eight states east of the Rockies were record warm and an additional 15 states were top ten warm.
Record Setting Heat
- The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century average. Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month led to at least 170 all-time high temperature records broken or tied. The June temperatures contributed to a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
- Record-breaking temperatures occurred across a large portion of the nation during the second half of June. Over 170 all-time warm temperature records were broken or tied during the month. Temperatures in South Carolina (113°F) and Georgia (112°F) are currently under review by the U.S. State Climate Extremes Committeeas possible all-time statewide temperature records.
Record Setting Drought
- According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 3, 56.0% of the contiguous U.S. experienced drought conditions, marking the largest percentage of the nation experiencing drought conditions in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought conditions improved across Florida, due to the rains from Tropical Storm Debby. Drought conditions worsened across much of the West, Central Plains, and the Ohio Valley, causing significant impacts on agriculture in those regions.
Record Setting Wildfires
- Several large wildfires raged across the West in June, destroying hundreds of homes and causing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residences. The very dry, warm, and windy weather created ideal wildfire conditions. Nationwide, wildfires scorched over 1.3 million acres, the second most on record during June.
Putting it all together, NOAA reports:
The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record-large 44 percent during the January-June period, over twice the average value. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures (83 percent) and warm nighttime temperatures (70 percent) covered large areas of the nation, contributing to the record high value.
Taking Action to Stop the Record Breaking
While well over 2.1 million people have already written in to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants, we still need to tell Congress to take action to tackle the impacts of climate change that threatens our communities, homes, families, and wildlife.