US sets new record for nighttime heat in July
Speaking of hot nights, America got something for the history books last month.
The continental United States set a record for heat at night in July, providing little relief from the blistering heat of the day for people, animals, plants and the electrical grid, meteorologists said.
The average low temperature for the Lower 48 states in July was 63.6 degrees (17.6 Celsius), improving the previous 2011 record by a few hundredths of a degree. The figure is not only the warmest nighttime average for July, but for any month in 128 years of recording, said climatologist Karin Gleason of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The low on the night of July was more than 3 degrees (1.7 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average.
Scientists have long talked about nighttime temperatures — reflected in increasingly warmer minimums that usually occur after sunset and before dawn — that are critical to health.
“If you have daytime temperatures that are at or near record high temperatures and you don’t have that recovery at night when temperatures cool down, it puts a lot of stress on plants, animals and people,” Gleason said Friday. “It’s a big problem.”
In Texas, where the monthly daytime average was above 100 degrees (37.8 Celsius) for the first time in July and the power grid was under strain, the nighttime average temperature was still a pleasant 74.3 degrees (23.5 Celsius)- 4 degrees (2.2 Celsius). ) above the 20th century average.
Over the past 30 years, the nighttime lows in the US have warmed an average of 2.1 degrees (1.2 degrees Celsius), while daytime highs have risen by 1.9 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius). For decades, climate scientists have said that global warming from burning coal, oil and natural gas would warm the world faster at night and in the northern polar regions. A study earlier this week said the Arctic is now warming four times faster than the rest of the world.
The night heats up faster because the warming of the day causes the air to hold more moisture than moisture helps to retain heat at night, Gleason said.
“So it’s to be expected in theory and it’s also something that we see happening in the data,” Gleason said.
NOAA also released its global temperature data for July on Friday, showing it was on average the sixth warmest month on record with an average temperature of 61.97 degrees (16.67 degrees Celsius), which is 1.57 degrees (0.87 degrees Celsius). ) is warmer than the 20th century average. It has been a month of heat waves, including the UK breaking its all-time heat record.
“Global warming continues,” Colorado meteorologist Bob Henson said.
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