Weather & Natural Disasters

July sizzled across US, NOAA says

Ketchikan Harbour in Alaska
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Severe heat in parts of the United States pushed July temperatures above historical averages, according to a new report.

The news comes a week after another report concluding that 2015 was a record-breaking year for climate measurements around the world.

In a report Monday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said that 2016 so far is the third warmest on record for the contiguous United States since the beginning of record-keeping more than a century ago.

July temperatures were much above average for 18 states, including Alaska. Florida and New Mexico had their warmest July on record. An unusually severe "heat dome" brought extremely high temperatures to 26 states in the central and Southern U.S., and severe heat hit parts of the Southwest in mid-July, most notably in the Phoenix area.

Alaska's July was its fourth hottest on record, but the state is the having its warmest year so far since records were first collected there in 1925.

The average July temperature across the U.S. was 75.3 degrees, 1.6 degrees above the 20th century average, the report said. The January-July temperature was 54.3 degrees, 3 degrees above the 20th century average, the highest departure so far.

The report comes a week after NOAA released the annual State of the Climate report for 2015. That study found that a long-term global warming trend and an especially strong El Nino led to myriad new climate records, such as record temperatures around the world, sea level rise, and the frequency and intensity of hurricanes.

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information Director Thomas Karl told reporters on a recent press call that despite a receding El Nino pattern, the planet is still breaking temperature records this year, and "very likely this year will be a record."