Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hottest July on Record?

We got this from the National Weather Service today:
THU JUL 31 2008 ...Heat advisory in effect from 1 pm to 9 pm MDT Friday... The national weather service in Denver has issued a heat advisory...which is in effect from 1 pm to 9 pm MDT Friday. Temperatures across the plains Friday are expected to be in the low and mid 90s by early afternoon. Readings are then expected to peak between 100 and 105 degrees in the mid afternoon. The mercury will probably remain above the 90 degree level until mid-evening. A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. Sunny temperatures and low relative humidities will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids...stay in an air-conditioned room...stay out of the sun...and check up on relatives and neighbors.

How hot was it? According to some reports, it was the hottest July on record, possibly the hottest summer ever:
On Wednesday, we tied a 134-year record for consecutive days in the 90s, with 18. Today, number 19, enters the history books as the new sweatiest summer run... You can call the temperatures pleasant or oppressive, but this streak is unquestionably historic. It ties a record set in July 1874 and the same month in 1901.
Well, I suppose it depends on how you measure. How many days did we have over 100 degrees?
  • We had none at my house, and only a single 100 degree reading in Denver.)
How many new record high temps were set?
  • None officially, not a single new high temperature record for July.
So how do recent years compare? Well let's not be too quick to forget that sweltering July we had just back in 2005. Remember we had 25 days 90 or above and 7 days over 100 and we set 8 new high temp records for the month. July 2005 also had a higher average temperature for the month. See data here.

So what's the big deal? Nothing really, but it seems the news media wants to make a story anywhere they can. If it is something they can tie to that ever popular topic of "global warming" they will. My advice is before you get too excited, verify the data yourself.

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