Wet and warm summarizes the nation’s weather for June through August, according the the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Though few records were broken, overall temperatures remained above the 20th century average. Summers in 12 Western and Northeastern states were among the 10 warmest on record, countering below-average temperatures in parts of the Southeast and the Ohio Valley. Alaska recorded its second-highest summertime average in 96 years, 2.7° F. above the average temperature for the years 1971-2000.
The contiguous U.S. experienced its wettest summer since 2004, with total precipitation 1.28 inches above average. Three southern states and New York had record-breaking seasonal rainfall; 15 other Eastern states and Arizona experienced one of their 10 wettest summers on record.
So far, 2013 temperatures in the U.S. continue to be above the 20th century average. Total rainfall is above normal, although distribution has been uneven, with the West suffering extremely dry conditions while the East was unusually wet. More than 50 percent of the Lower 48 states were in drought conditions in the first week of September.
In August the 2012 State of the Climate report was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Worldwide, last year was among the 10 warmest years on record, with shrinking Arctic sea ice and the melting Greenland ice sheet headlining the news. The Society also issued an analysis of 12 extreme weather events that occurred across the globe in 2012, including heat waves and drought in the U.S., flooding from Hurricane Sandy, the decline in Arctic sea ice and occurrences of extraordinary rainfall in several countries. The report examines evidence that human-caused climate change as well as the effects of natural weather and climate fluctuations significantly contributed to their occurrence.