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This Year Will Be the Warmest in 136 Years of Record-Keeping

Drought is affecting at least one quarter of the 48 contiguous US states and over a third of the population.

(Photo: Curran Kelleher)

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As anthropogenic climate disruption-driven warming persists, September set yet another global temperature record according to NASA, ensuring that this year will be the warmest ever, in 136 years of modern record-keeping.

Across the US, warm temperature records continue to break at ever-increasing rates.

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) most recent data, the contiguous United States’ average temperature for September was 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century average, and the ninth warmest September ever recorded in 122 years of NOAA record-keeping.

The month saw 3,715 record warm daily temperatures, a number five times the record cold daily highs, which gives one an idea of which direction the planet is heading.

Ubiquitous Warming, Precipitation, Drought

By the end of September, the year-to-date average temperature across Alaska was 6.9 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average.

That trend continued well into October with Barrow, Alaska — the northernmost city in the United States — recording a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit on October 30; a warm temperature record that obliterated the normal average temperature by 26 degrees Fahrenheit. The record also pushed forward by one week the latest day that that city had seen a temperature over 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

In southern California, a heatwave in September brought 104 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures to Los Angeles, while the average temperature of Ohio for September was nearly 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average for the entire state.

Warm temperatures also increase the ability of the atmosphere to hold more moisture.

Hence, Honolulu, Hawaii saw its second wettest September on record, with a staggering 417 percent of its normal rainfall.

In Iowa, unprecedented rains saw rivers cresting at record and near-record levels across the state for the month of September.

Overall, precipitation in September for the contiguous US was more than a fifth of an inch above the 20th century average.

The other side of the moisture coin is drought.

As of the end of the third week of October, nearly one-quarter of the contiguous 48 US states were in drought, affecting 119.8 million people.

If you live in California, the southeast, or northeastern US, the drought outlook for you through the end of January 2017 is not a good one.

In conclusion, a quick glance at NOAA’s map of departures from average temperatures makes it clear that there are very, very few places in the US that are not seeing out of the ordinary temperatures.

And with 2016 on track to become the warmest year ever recorded, we can expect all of these trends to continue.

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