RECORD: United States has the warmest first half of a year on record

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jul 10, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Our record-warm trend this year continues, leading to the warmest first half of a year on record for the contiguous United States. The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. for January through June in 2012 is 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Since record-keeping began in 1895, this is the warmest known first half of the year, continuing our warm trend of 2012.

Contiguous U.S. Temperature, January-June 1895-2012, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Climatic Data Center

Contiguous U.S. Temperature, January-June 1895-2012, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Climatic Data Center

Richmond’s average temperature year-to-date temperature for 2012 through June is 58.2°F, which is 3.6°F above the 1981-2010 average.

In addition to our year-to-date record, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says, “The July 2011-June 2012 period was the warmest 12-month period of any 12-months on record for the contiguous U.S., narrowly surpassing the record broken last month for the June 2011-May 2012 period by 0.05°F. The nationally-averaged temperature of 56.0°F was 3.2°F above the long term average. Every state across the contiguous U.S. had warmer than average temperatures for the period, except Washington, which was near normal.”

Here are some of those other warmest 12-month periods on record:

June contributed to the continued record-warm 2012-to-date. June’s average temperature for the U.S. was 71.2°F, which is 2.0°F above the twentieth century average. The NCDC/NOAA says, “Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month led to at least 170 all-time high temperature records broken or tied.”



Climate Central credits the NOAA data, saying, “During June 2012, 3,282 daily high temperature records were set or tied, dwarfing the number of cold temperature records set during the month. Among these records, at least 1,748 of them were for temperatures of 100°F or higher.” But it wasn’t just the extreme daytime heat records that are notable. Climate Central also says, “Summer overnight temperatures in Virginia have been rising steadily since early in the 20th century, and rising even faster since 1970, when heat-trapping greenhouse gases began to have a strong effect on Earth’s climate.”

Virginia as a whole, though, was actually cooler-than-average for June, with one of our cooler Junes on record (it ranked as our 36th coolest):

Unfortunately, drought conditions are at their worst levels in twelve years, with no significant help for the drought in the U.S. from June (except for Florida, which received very heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby, and led to its wettest June on record). Virginia had one of its drier Junes on the books, too, which explains why 91 percent of the Commonwealth is now Abnormally Dry, with drought conditions re-developing in central Virginia.

Here is a summary of other national weather events of note for June, including the derecho that crippled much of our region:

CLICK HERE for more on the June NOAA/NCDC report.

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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