July 2012 Was Hottest Month on Record: By the Numbers

“Hottest,” “warmest”: We’ve heard those two words and other superlatives over and over this year about the weather.

Spring was the warmest on record. The US is suffering from its worst drought since 1956.

Unfortunately, July was as hot as ever.

Warmest and Hottest

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that this July was the hottest on record and also the hottest month in the contiguous US on record. 77.6°F was the average temperature in the contiguous US, which is 3.3°F above the 20th century average. The last time it was almost as hot (77.4°F) in July was back in 1936.

The first seven months of 2012 were the warmest ever on record in the lower 48. The US has now been in its warmest 12-month period since record-keeping began in 1895.

Virginia experienced its hottest July on record, with temperatures 4.0°F above average.

If you live in the Northeast as I do, you’ve lived through the hottest year so far.

Overall, the first seven months of 2012 were the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the contiguous US, with temperatures averaging 56.4°F, 4.3°F above the long-term average. The same January-July period in 2012 was also drier than average.

The twelve-month period from August 2011-July 2012 was the hottest ever in the contiguous US with only Washington having near, rather than above, average temperatures.

Driest and Wettest

July was drier than average across the Central Plains and the Midwest while Maine’s July was its fifth driest.

But July was the fifth wettest for California and the eighth wettest for Nevada. The rest of the Southwest also experienced wetter-than-average conditions.

In addition, months that are key for agriculture (May-July) were the second warmest on record and the 12th driest for three-month-period. Nebraska, Kansas, and Arkansas all had record-dry conditions.

62.9 percent of the contiguous US is enduring moderate to exceptional drought according to the July 31, 2012, US Drought Monitor (USDM). Plus, 22 percent of the US — up from 10 percent — is experiencing the worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought), with devastating effects for crops and livestock.

It is getting hotter and, as Care2 blogger Tara Holmes wrote, it’s only going to get even hotter.


Related Care2 Coverage

Record Heat Wave Devastates U.S. Corn and Soy Crops, Drives Food Prices Higher

Spring of 2012 Warmest on Record

June’s Top 5 Extreme Weather Events In The U.S.


Photo by Instant Vantage


Michael C.
Michael C.3 years ago

Linda R, I find that while many of you are seemingly so concerned about the issue Of Global Climate Change (GCC), but none of you have actually done anything but talk.

There is nothing that you or Obummer can do about GCC, you are way passed salvation.
Game Over.

Ken W.
Ken W.3 years ago

Rebecca B. what planutnutnut are you on !

Don H.
Don H.3 years ago

Rebecca B not only is there no "proof" that human caused global warming is a hoax, there isn't even any evidence.

Over 90% of climate scientists agree that we are now experiencing human caused global warming. Some hoax.

I bet you also voted for Dubya Bush and believe the earth is only 5,000 years old.

We don't need a conspiracy or excuse to raise taxes. By a huge majority of Americans want to return to the tax rates of the 1990s for the wealthy. A majority of the American people also believe the evidence shows that climate change is real.

Rebecca Birchfield

There is plenty of proof that the idea that there is man-made global warming is a hoax. It is a con game to increase taxes. Everyone who still buys into this hoax is a retard.

Monica D.
M D.3 years ago

Noted with concern ...

Monica D.
M D.3 years ago

Noted with concern ...

Sydney Myers
Sydney M3 years ago

Better not show this article to anyone at Faux News (i.e. the ultra-conservative global warming deniers); their heads will literally explode!!!

Linda Rust
Past Member 3 years ago

Michael, Sorry but I find your words cruel, and totally unfair. Why blame one individual for the mistakes that we have made as a society? Be it the greed of the corporate profiteers which we have allowed to go unchecked, or the 'consumerist' lifestyle that we have become so accustomed to, we are all to blame for the situation that we as a society have created. Now isn't the time to create dissension, now is the time for us ALL to accept our mistakes and work to create an environment where we can work together on the problems we all face. Now is the time for joining together to achieve common goals for the good of us all, all around the globe, both human and otherwise. We've all had a chance to do more in the past, but it's what we do now that will really make the difference. All of Us. Together.

Michael C.
Michael C.3 years ago

Polarbeargal, You all had a chance of doing "something" a long time ago, but you were all, too, and self absorbed, big SUV's, houses that you could not afford, life styles of god knows what.
It is grading time, guess what a F-, are you surprised? Not me.

So to the end of this story, you find solace in this, "I've encouraged my children to prepare themselves for what's coming and to be as ready as possible." Great advise. I believe that ZERO child birth or abortion should have been the option. Anything else was just plain carelessness and lacking of fore thought. Why would you wish to subject a child to such abuse.

Your best comment comes as your wish, "I most likely won't be around but I'd like to leave this glorious planet thinking my children will be ready for what Mother Earth will hand them."

When did Mother Earth come to have control over reckless humans?

You and every other a-hole deserves to wallow in the foul waters of your own making.

These are not the words of hate, merely the words of reason; something you should grasped a long time ago. Damn greedy, self-centered, reckless, blame it on someone else, Americans.

Good luck and God Speed.

Linda Rust
Past Member 3 years ago

Don, Thanks for mentioning Bill McKibben's (founder of 350.org) latest piece in Rolling Stone magazine. The facts are scary, but hey everyone, it's really not too late! We have created changes in climate, but we can still curb or mitigate, the effects if we make changes now. I hope everyone will read the article Don mentioned, and realize that the time to take action is now!
I also recommend Mark Hertsgaard's book, 'Hot: Living through the next 50 years on Earth.
He outlines a lot of good ideas on what we can do now to minimize the effects of climate change in a way that can still leave us all with a planet that is still livable for future generations. Maybe different from the one we've known, but still a place where we can have a future for our children, and save as many other species as possible. Everyone, don't despair, it's not over yet. We really haven't even begun to really DO anything. Now is the time to get good and angry, and have some faith, and fight! He also started a group called Climate Parents.org., for those of us who don't accept such a dim view of the future planet our children, or all the children of the world, will inherit. The human race has been capable of overcoming a lot of seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the past. We can do the same now. Strength and Courage to us all in the battles ahead!