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July Hottest Month in History of the United States

July was the hottest month in the history of the United States, going back all the way to 1895, the beginning of temperature-related record keeping.

The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees — 3.3 degrees above the average 20th-century temperature, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Wednesday. July thereby dethroned July 1936, which had set the record at 77.4 degrees, the agency said.

Higher-than-average temperatures gripped much of the country last month, with the biggest departures from the 20th-century average reported across most of the Plains, in the Midwest and along the Eastern Seaboard, the agency’s report said. Virginia had its warmest July on record, with the average temperature four degrees above the norm, it added.

A hot July also contributed to the warmest 12-month period ever recorded in the United States, the statistics showed.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of the United States now suffers under drought-like conditions.

As James Hansen showed in a recent study, it’s impossible to have these multiple temperature records being set all over the world, from Australia to Russia to Europe to the United States, over the course of the past few years, and not have that attributable to a warming planet. This is a preview of what to expect over the rest of our lifetime, not an anomaly or a month that will spike and then come down. And because the nation does not have a definable standard of truth anymore, just competing spin, this will not lead to any meaningful change in policy at the federal level. To just watch the Presidential campaign, you wouldn’t think there was such a thing as weather, let alone climate change.

But hey, maybe there will be a spate of volcanic eruptions all over the world, spewing enough dust and particulate matter into the air to block sunlight and depress global temperatures. What could go wrong with that?

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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