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article imageReport: U.S. had record summer of heat, global warming blamed

By Marcus Hondro     Sep 11, 2016 in Environment
Newly released data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the U.S. experienced its fifth warmest summer on record in 2016. The summer also saw record temperatures in some states and global warming may be the reason.
Summer heat records set
The summer actually tied for the fifth warmest with the summer of ten years ago, 2006. The U.S. also experienced its second wettest August and 24th wettest summer overall since such record-keeping began 122 years ago.
"The average summer U.S. temperature was 73.5 degrees F, 2.1 degrees above average, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information," the NOAA said in a press release. "Every state in the continental U.S. and Alaska were warmer than average this summer."
The NOAA called the summer "oppressively hot."
Eight states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region recorded the hottest month of August they've experienced in those 122 years of record-keeping and two of those states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, had a record summer of heat overall. Forty-five cites had the hottest summer they've ever had.
"The year to date (January-August) for the contiguous U.S. was the 3rd warmest on record with an average temperature of 56.7 degrees F, 2.8 degrees above average," the NOAA said. "All Lower 48 states and Alaska observed above-average temperatures during this eight-month period."
Global warming cited
Since the NOAA released the report Thursday many online and print publications have speculated global warming is responsible for the plethora of heat records being set and called for further government action.
An editorial in USA Today said the data "provides further evidence, as if any were needed, that global warming is a here-and-now problem, not something to worry about in the distant future." And already there is data to suggest that is so.
A federal report released last week attributed much of the year's weather to global warming, including the Louisiana floods that caused 13 deaths and $8.7 billion in damage, damaged 150,000 homes. The Red Cross called it the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy.
That federal report was coordinated by the research organization Climate Central and the chief scientist there, Heidi Cullen said the odds of such a disaster have increased by 40 percent, or more, due to global warming.
"But it’s probably much closer to a doubling of the probability," Cullen speculated. “Climate change played a very clear and quantifiable role."
The lead author of the study, Karin van der Wiel, a NOAA and Princeton University researcher and meteorologist, agrees with Cullen's assessment. "For a precipitation event of this size to occur on the central Gulf Coast, the odds have increased by at least 40 percent and most likely doubled," she said.
She blamed global warming.
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