Well, the hot times continue, both globally and locally. Well ... not so much locally, since we're only running about 2.0°F (1.1°C) above normal 2/3 of the way through August. No 100° days either. But that's not so true of other locations around the globe, starting with FishOutofWater's diary a week ago, about "hell on earth" in the Southwestern U.S. That's my opinion about places like Yuma, NV and Needles, CA, without knowing anything about the weather. I'm sure there's something to appreciate about the stark beauty of a dessicated, dusty landscape, but I'll just stick with mountains and trees, thank you very much!
With that, let's look at the NOAA July 2012 Global Climate Summary. I did a quick diary on the July 2012 U.S. Climate Summary; last month beat out July 1936, arguably one of the most famous of Dust Bowl months, in becoming the hottest July and hottest month overall on record. Year-to-date, 2012 has been the warmest Jan.-July period since comprehensive U.S. record-keeping began in 1895 (below). In the graphic below, each year from 1895 through 2012 is plotted, with the 5 warmest years in red and the 5 coldest years in blue. Note that 2012 stands well-above all those warmest years.
Five coldest and five warmest years in continental U.S., cumulative departure from normal temperature as each year evolved, with 2012 added through July.
And the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor (below) looks like a requiem for the crops in the center of the country, though the temperatures have cooled since the records of late July and early August. The cooler weather was not
accompanied by significant rainfall.
U.S. Drought Monitor on 21 August 2012. Much of the country is in drought, a significant portion of it extreme to exceptional.
Things are not expected to improve for much of the drought area, particularly the area from the mid-Mississippi valley through almost the entire north-to-south expanse of the Great Plains. This can be seen in the U.S. Drought Outlook product issued last week (below). This outlook is based on something brewing in the tropical Pacific, which I'll discuss later.
U.S. drought outlook issued 16 August 2012 valid through 30 November 2012.
More below the orange wormhole.