If you found yourself unable to sleep well during the months of June, July and August, then you are not alone because the entire contiguous U.S. has just experienced its hottest summer in 121 years. While days were definitely hot all across the country, it was the almost endless parade of humid, swampy nights that set an all-time record.
The summer nights of 2016 were hotter than any summer ever since records were first introduced way back in 1895, according to data that was released last Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The national average temperature stood at a sweltering 60.8 degrees, which is about 2.4 degrees above average, according to Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. Summer is defined by meteorologists as the warmest months of the year - falling on June, July and August.
Crouch added that the East Coast experienced the highest temperatures during the heatwave and the reason for this was the unusually high amount of humidity, which was the result of a persistent flow of moisture-heavy air coming from the Atlantic Ocean and just off the Gulf of Mexico. Temperatures at night will not drop as long as humidity is present in the atmosphere.
The devastating floods that struck West Virginia in June, Elliot City, MD. in July, and Louisiana in August were all linked to the flow of warm air, Crouch said.
All in all, with both day and night temperatures taken into account, the summer of 2016 is tied with 2006 for the fifth hottest summer ever recorded in the U.S. According to NOAA, the only summers that were hotter occurred in 1936, 2012, 2011 and 1934.
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California, Rhode Island and Connecticut were the three states that had record warm temperatures this summer. What's even more shocking is the fact that not a single state was able to experience a cooler than average season.
Several major cities including Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Portland, Maine, and Columbia, S.C., also experienced their hottest summers to date.
In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, at least eight states experienced some record warm summers in the month of August. Those states included New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Hotter nights are considered to be a signature of climate change and they are also quite dangerous as well because they drastically reduce the possibility of people getting some relief whenever there are heatwaves.
To give you a bit of perspective on just how hot the summer of 2016 was for America, the state of Alaska had its second warmest summer, third warmest August and saw some record warm temperatures for the year which were at 7.6 degrees F above average. This is indeed a very alarming issue because not even the coldest state in the U.S. was able to avoid the unbearably humid summer nights of 2016.
The month of August also happened to be the 17th warmest on record, and when you factor in precipitation measured 0.85 inches above average, it was also the second wettest month on record.
For 2016, the U.S. is currently experiencing the third warmest year on record. Additional data from NOAA showed that at least 58 million people all over the U.S. were affected by 10 or more days with temperatures reaching at least 100 degrees F.
The White House fears that the continuously rising temperatures brought about by climate change and the projected heatwave of 2030 could kill thousands of Americans, based on a report written by Reuters.
Extreme heat can cause forest fires to occur and also increase pollen count, which in turn can affect the quality of the air. Declining air quality can lead to several thousand premature deaths, acute respiratory ailments, and hospital visits every year.
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