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Climate of 2006 - July in Historical Perspective


National Climatic Data Center
14 August 2006

Contents of this Report:

Selected Global Significant Events for July 2006
Map of Selected
Global Significant Events
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Major Highlights


U.S. HAS ITS SECOND-HOTTEST JULY ON RECORD;
DROUGHT CONDITIONS WORSEN


The continental United States suffered through its second-hottest July on record because of a blistering heatwave from California to Washington, D.C. The heatwave broke more than 2,300 daily temperature records for the month and eclipsed more than 50 records for the highest temperatures in any July, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The hottest July on record occurred in 1936, and the third hottest was 1934.

The agency also reported that the first seven months of 2006 was the warmest January-July of any year in the United States since records began in 1895. And the scorching temperatures, combined with a shortage of rainfall, expanded moderate-to-extreme drought conditions in areas already hard hit.

U.S. Temperature Highlights
The average July 2006 temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) was 77.2°F (25.1°C). More than 90 records for the highest night-time temperatures for July were broken. The average January - July 2006 temperature was 55.3°F (12.9°C), which beat the previous record set in 1934.

The Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), which provides information related to climate sensitive residential energy demand, ranked as the fourth highest July index in the 112-year record. Using this index, NOAA scientists determined that the nation's residential energy demand was approximately 22% higher than that which would have occurred under average climate conditions for the month.

The average July temperature (based on the statistical mean from 1901 - 2000) is 74.3°F. The July 1936 record temperature was 77.5°F. The July 1934 average temperature (third highest on record) was 77.1°F. The previous January - July cumulative record temperature was 54.8°F (set in 1934).

U.S. Precipitation Highlights
The average precipitation for July 2006 across the continental United States was 0.18 inch (4.6 mm) below the 20th century average, contributing to a January-July period that was 22nd driest on record.

In July, 51 percent of the United States, mostly in the Plains states and Southeast, was in moderate-to-extreme drought (based on the Palmer Drought Index), an increase of five percent from June. This percentage ranks with the biggest droughts of the last 50 years. The most extensive drought occurred in July 1934 when 80 percent of the country was affected by moderate-to-extreme drought. In addition, 28 percent of the country, mainly in the Plains states, was in severe-to-extreme drought in July, up from 27 percent in June.

Global Highlights
It was the third warmest July on record for global land and ocean surfaces temperatures since records began in 1880 (1.01°F/0.56°C above the 20th century mean) and the sixth warmest year-to-date (January-July) (0.92°F/0.51°C).

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Report Index

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to the top Global Analysis


to the top Global Hazards and Significant Events


to the top National Overview


to the top United States Drought


to the top U.S. Pre-Instrumental Perspective

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Climate Monitoring / Climate of 2006 / July / Help