All time heat - what does it mean?
What heat in the Great Plains! Cities like McCook, Nebraska on Tuesday, June 26 recorded their all time hottest day. The temperature soared to 115°. Well not hottest ever, but hottest in weather records. A careful difference. Look at the many records and high temperatures Tuesday, June 26 and again Wednesday June 27.
- High Temperatures Tuesday, June 26, 2012
- High Temperatures Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Denver tied their "all time" record of 105° 2 days in a row on Tuesday. And we have seen headlines such as "June 2011-May 2012 Hottest 12 months every in United States". But be a bit careful about what all this means. Is the climate slowly warming? Yes. Does this mean more heat waves next summer like this, and that from June 2012 through next May 2013 again it will be the "hottest 12 months every in the United States"? Want to make a bet? Look at this graph for the 12 month period, June-May temperature, over the last 100+ years.
Courtesy National Climatic Data Center/NOAA
This last 12 month period was sure a record breaker with U.S. temperature more than 3º above the long term average. But remember, at best most spots in U.S. weather records only go back about 150 years. So "all time" is not really ALL time, but within weather records time. Plus, look at the long term trend (Diagram above). Sure, warming at a significant rate of 1.3º/100 years, but plenty of year to year fluctuations. The last 12 months across the U.S. the temperature was so much above average, that the probability of this coming June - May 2013 being warmer is very low. Ready for a wager? On the other hand, I'll bet that there might be some headlines next year such as "June 2012 to May 2013 much cooler than same period last year-There is no warming". Be careful about reading just the headlines. Read between the lines. Better yet, look at the actual data and long term trends. Of course keep cool and hydrated this weekend, records or not. Here they are with our forecast highs from Wednesday.