It’s Obscenely Hot: June 2011 Heat Records Crush Cold Records by Nearly 11 to 1

Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate analyzed the data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and found U.S. heat records in June outnumbered cold records by 2706 to 251 — nearly 11 to 1:

Monthly total number of daily high temperature and low temperature records set in the U.S. for June 2010 through June 2011, data from NOAA.

I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming.  If you want to know how to judge whether the near 11-to-1 ratio is a big deal, see “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.

As for global temperatures, the anti-science crowd had been crowing that this year’s big La Niña — which they called a “Super La Niña” — would drive temperatures way, way down.  But even the satellite datasets, which are more sensitive to the El Niño Southern oscillation, show that how modest and short-lived the temperature dip was [click to enlarge]:

It is worth noting the La Niña that is just ending was both longer and stronger than the La Niña of 2008.  It is hard to stop the march of global warming —  other than through deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Supposedly, the deniers said, this “Super La Niña” meant “Things might get real cold.”  As Scolnik reports, that statement would be true if you replaced the word “cold” with “hot”:

In addition to the 2706 daily high temperature records, 63 all-time June temperature records and 17 all-time (any month) records were set. One all-time monthly record has already been set so far in July (Willow Run Airport, Michigan).

For comparison, here is the number of all-time record low temperatures set in each month of the the “cold, snowy winter” of 2010-2011:

December 0
January  3
February 5  


I’m not certain how hot it has to be to get the deniers to wake up to reality — how brutal the droughts and heat waves and sand storms — but I guess it is going to have to get a lot worse.  Sadly, if we listen to them, it will, as I discussed last month (see “Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up):

Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers

The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists….

“According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years,” said the study’s lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh,

Some newspapers, like USA Today, have apparently even taken to using sexually suggestive graphs to make sure people come in out of sun during the record-smashing heat:

As an aside, Charles Apple of the American Copy Editors Society, notes of the above chart, “You need a dirty mind to be an editor in this business.”  The editors at Grist would seem to agree, given the headline they ran in mocking that chart, which I will not repeat!

But hey, if it gets people to pay attention to the advice, it’s probably worthwhile.  Remember, we live in a world where even a U.S. Senator, James Inhofe, the former chair of the Senate environment committee, doesn’t know enough to avoid swimming in a visible algae bloom!

Below are the earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:

William M. Klassen

Just to keep everyone on the up and up about what is really going on. Too bad we can’t get Murdoch to shut down all his ‘crap’ outlets!

July 7 at 2:09pm

Colorado Bob

Recent fires in East Texas have burned tree trunks 3 to 4 feet into the ground, which normally is only seen in arid West Texas, Roeseler said.

June set the mark for the highest monthly average temperature since the National Weather Service began keeping handwritten temperature records on the island in 1874, Meteorologist Charles Roeseler said.

The weather service has been tracking League City data since 1994.

April 1 through June 30 also broke every three-month drought record in Galveston since 1871, the year the service began keeping precipitation records, Roeseler said.


July 7 at 12:41pm

Colorado Bob

First six days of July –
Max highs
Out of a possible 34,718 records: 171 (Broken) + 180 (Tied) = 351 Total.
Max lows
Out of a possible 34,718 records: 9 (Broken) + 14 (Tied) = 23 Total.
Min highs
Out of a possible 34,558 records: 195 (Broken) + 158 (Tied) = 353 Total.
Min Lows
Out of a possible 34,558 records: 26 (Broken) + 22 (Tied) = 48 Total.​xtremes/records/daily/mint​/2011/07/00?sts%5B0%5D=US#​records_look_up

July 7 at 1:13pm

Capital Climate

“Only” about 7 to 1 highs vs. lows.

July 7 at 1:19pm

Olivia Duncan

Obscenely hot for sure!

July 7 at 6:20pm


How hot does it have to get to change the deniers minds? You can’t count that high. Anyone that is still a denier, is either willfully ignorant, or vested in some way on the other side of the argument.

July 7 at 2:45pm

Colorado Bob

There is a station at Childress , Texas since April 3 they have 42 days above 100F.
The hottest being 118F on 6-26.

July 7 at 12:21pm

Michael Tilton

You going to believe Rush Limbaugh or your lyin eyes?

July 25 at 10:23am

Richard Brenne

Anything the sun does in the privacy of his own solar system is his business, although hopefully Hubble photos of other stars doing whatever stars do wasn’t a factor.

I’ll always go with Joe’s humor over the more obvious at Grist, including another clever headline here from Joe, although Grist used a word often also used to describe deniers from James Inhofe to Larry Craig.

And while we’re on the subject, did anyone else find it odd that the Heartland Institute’s International Climate Change Conference used the same graphic for their poster as their moral equivalent, NAMBLA?​omm/2011/07/01/258943/hear​tland-institute-denier-con​ference/

July 7 at 3:45pm

Richard Brenne

The heat, right. Running means tend to give a more accurate picture than just what happens in a given calendar year alone does, and it appears that from June 2010 through June 2011 heat records exceeded cold records by over a 3 to 1 ratio (Anyone more skilled than I care to calculate this?) and maybe closer to 4 to 1, which would be almost double the 2.04 to 1 ratio of heat to cold records for the decade beginning January 1, 2000.

It’ll be interesting to see what the average of heat to cold records is over the next decade that better shows climate change trends, chaste sun or no.

July 7 at 3:56pm

Colorado Bob

This drought goes all the way to Bermuda –
Lower than average rainfall for six consecutive months has led to dry tanks across the Island.
As of Sunday the Island had recorded only 13.56in of rain, putting us on course to match 1975, the driest year on record. That year, only 37.14in of rainfall were recorded. The Bermuda Weather Service recorded 0.62in of rain at the airport in May —.​m/article/20110705/NEWS07/​707059977/0/FRONTPAGE

July 7 at 12:23pm

Joan Savage

This ties into the study on the variability in the NASH (Bermuda High) by Li, Wenhong, Laifang Li, Rong Fu, Yi Deng, Hui Wang, 2011: Changes to the North Atlantic Subtropical High and Its Role in the Intensification of Summer Rainfall Variability in the Southeastern United States. J. Climate, 24, 1499–1506. <http://journals.ametsoc.or​g/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JCLI​3829.1?journalCode=clim>

July 8 at 10:40am

John McCormick

Joe we need a serious piece on the expanding tropical zone because the Southern half of America will, in time, become tropical.

July 7 at 12:33pm

Joseph Romm

It will be subtropical, you mean.

July 7 at 12:34pm

John McCormick

Joe, I believe a discussion about the expanding tropical zone is timely and topical.

July 7 at 1:40pm


Give it enough time, and we’ll get our tropical weather — at the rate we’re going, our grandchildren will be facing a “PETM on steroids” climate event…

July 7 at 10:12pm

Joseph Romm

It will be subtropical, you mean.

July 7 at 12:34pm

John McCormick

Joe, I believe a discussion about the expanding tropical zone is timely and topical.

July 7 at 1:40pm


Give it enough time, and we’ll get our tropical weather — at the rate we’re going, our grandchildren will be facing a “PETM on steroids” climate event…

July 7 at 10:12pm

Colorado Bob

* That June was the warmest on record in Houston.
* The month finished with an average temperature of 86.15 degrees, besting a mark set in 1906.
* The Junes of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 all rank among the 10 warmest Junes on record.
* April, May and June of 2011 all rank among the 10 warmest on record in Houston.
* Houston had seven 100-degree days in June. On average it gets four per decade.
* August is the city’s warmest month. This June would tied for the eighth warmest August of all time.
Houston has had 7.9 inches of rain this year. It normally has about 25 inches by now.​uy/2011/07/its-been-so-hot​-and-so-dry/

July 7 at 12:32pm

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