This group brings together the best thinkers on energy and climate. Join us for smart, insightful posts and conversations about where the energy industry is and where it is going.


Dust Bowl 2012: Hottest July on Record in U.S.

Tom Schueneman's picture

Environmental writer, journalist and web publisher. Founder of

  • Member since 2018
  • 202 items added with 140,146 views
  • Aug 10, 2012

July 2012 was the hottest July on record. Much of the nation suffers from extreme drought

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that last month was, on average, the hottest July on record for the contiguous United States, beating the previous record set in the dust bowl of 1936. The past 12 months have been the hottest ever recorded in the US, with more than 27,000 heat records broken so far this year, more than the 26,674 for all of 2011, even with the Texas-sized drought that sizzled throughout the state last summer. Last year also saw Oklahoma setting the record for the all-time hottest average summer temperature for any state ever recorded. But that was last year.

This year, drought has extended through 63 percent of the Lower 48, according to the US Drought Monitor, with a peak (so far) on July 24 when nearly 64 percent of the contiguous states were under drought conditions, the highest ever in the Drought Monitor’s 13-year history. The areas of the country suffering “extreme to exceptional” drought conditions more than doubled, rising from 10 percent in June to 22 percent in July.

According to NOAA, the average July temperature in the contiguous United States stood at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average and the warmest July since record keeping began in 1895. The previous hottest July was in 1936 when the average temperature was 77.4 degrees F.

In 2011, the ratio of record daily high temperatures outnumbered record daily lows by about 3-to-1. This year, that ratio has turned even more lopsided with a ratio of record daily highs to lows of 10-to-1.

As summer progresses, it may seem like the worst is over, and hopefully that is so. But in the final four months of 2010 8,636 record daily highs were tied or set. In the same period last year (Sept.-Dec.) 5,800 records were matched or beaten.

Image credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Tom Schueneman's picture
Thank Tom for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »