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NOAA: June 2010 the globe's 4th consecutive warmest month on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:02 PM GMT on July 16, 2010

June 2010 was the warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated June 2010 the third warmest June on record, behind June 1998 and June 2009. Both NOAA and NASA rated the year-to-date period, January - June, as the warmest such period on record. June 2010 global ocean temperatures were the fourth warmest on record, while land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 2nd warmest on record in June, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups. The record warmest temperatures in the lower atmosphere were recorded in 1998.

For those interested, NCDC has a page of notable weather highlights from June 2010.

Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for June 2010. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

June 2010 features an unprecedented heat wave in Asia and North Africa
A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity brought the hottest temperatures in recorded history to six nations in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, in June 2010. At least two other Middle East nations came within a degree of their hottest temperatures ever in June.

The heat was the most intense in Kuwait, which recorded its hottest temperature in history on June 15 in Abdaly, according to the Kuwait Met office. The mercury hit 52.6°C (126.7°F). Kuwait's previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. Temperatures reached 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital of Kuwait City on June 15, 2010.

Iraq had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq's previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu'aybah.

Saudi Arabia had its hottest temperature ever on June 22, 2010, with a reading of 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities.

In Africa, Chad had its hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.6°C (117.7°F) at Faya. The previous record was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961.

Niger tied its record for hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.1°C (116.8°F) at Bilma. That record stood for just one day, as Bilma broke the record again on June 23, when the mercury topped out at 48.2°C (118.8°F). The previous record was 47.1°C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma.

Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history on June 25 when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperature in history on June 25, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C--110.8°F--set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.

Two other countries came within a degree of their all time hottest temperature on record during the heat wave. Bahrain had its hottest June temperature ever, 46.9°C, on June 20, missing the all-time record of 47.5°C (117.5°F), set July 14, 2000. Temperatures in Quatar reached 48.8°C (119.8°F) on June 20. Quatar's all-time record hottest temperature was 49.6°C (121.3°F) set on July 9, 2000. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO.) The source for the previous all-time records listed here is the book Extreme Weather by Chris Burt. According to Mr. Burt, the only other time as many as six nations set their all-time highest temperature marks in a single month was during the European heat wave of August 2003.

Figure 2. Dust storm over Iraq on June 23, 2010, the day after Iraq recorded its hottest temperature in its history. Image credit: NASA.

June 2010 Arctic sea ice extent lowest on record
Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent in June 2010 was the lowest in the 31-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The rate of ice loss during June was the fastest on record, approximately 50% faster than average. Ice volume was also at a record low through the first half of June, according to University of Washington Polar Ice Center. The record ice loss in June was due in large part to the presence of strong high pressure north of Alaska, combined with strong low pressure over Siberia, which drove warm air from Asia over the pole. This pressure pattern, called the Arctic Dipole, was unknown until the 2000s, and may be the result of climate change.

Eighth warmest June on record for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., it was the 8th warmest June in the 116-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Three states had their warmest June on record: Delaware, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Seventeen states had a top-ten warmest June, with five of these recording their second warmest June ever (Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.) No state recorded a top-ten coldest June.

U.S. precipitation
For the contiguous U.S., June 2010 ranked as the 17th wettest June in the 116-year record. June precipitation was the wettest on record for Michigan. Several other states were also anomalously wet, including: Iowa (2nd wettest), Nebraska and Illinois (3rd wettest), Indiana (4th wettest), Wisconsin (5th wettest), Oregon (6th wettest), and Ohio (10th wettest). Maryland (6th driest) was the only state that experienced a top-ten driest June.

U.S. Climate Extremes Index
NCDC's Climate Extremes Index (CEI) for January - June was about 6 percent higher than average. The CEI measures the prevalence of several types of climate extremes (like record or near-record warmth, dry spells, or rainy periods). Factors contributing to the elevated 2010 value were large footprints of: extreme wetness (more than three times the average footprint), warm minimum temperatures ("warm overnight lows"), and areas experiencing heavy 1-day precipitation events.

U.S. tornadoes
According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, there were 387 preliminary tornado reports during June. If confirmed, this will be the second most active June on record, behind 1992. Minnesota had a particularly busy month with 67 preliminary tornado reports, besting the previous record of 35 tornadoes during June 2005.

The tropics are quiet
None of the reliable computer models is calling for tropical cyclone development over the next seven days. There is an area of disturbed weather off the coast of Costa Rica that is generating some heavy thunderstorm activity over the extreme Southwest Caribbean. This disturbance should move westward over Nicaragua and Honduras over the weekend, bringing heavy rains to Central America. NHC is giving this disturbance a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday.

Figure 3. My neighbor Tom Vance works to clear a fallen tree from the road so we can get out of our subdivision.

Next post
I'll have a new post on Monday at the latest. I may have trouble posting much this weekend, as a severe thunderstorm knocked out power to my neighborhood last night. I was watching the storm from my porch when the winds suddenly began gusting to 60 - 70 mph, and figured I'd better hustle inside when the huge black walnut tree in front of my house began thrashing like the Hogwarts whomping willow! Two neighbors had trees crash through their roofs, and downed power lines started several small fires.

Jeff Masters

Climate Summaries

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.