US sets new record overnight heat in July: NPR

People spend time in the park in the evening during the summer heat wave in Hoboken, NJ on July 21, 2022.

Andres Kudaki / AP

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Andres Kudaki / AP

People spend time in the park in the evening during the summer heat wave in Hoboken, NJ on July 21, 2022.

Andres Kudaki / AP

Speaking of warm nights, America got something for the history books last month.

In July the continental United States set a record overnight heat, providing little respite from the scorching heat of the day for people, animals, plants and the power grid, meteorologists said.

The average minimum temperature in July in the lower 48 states was 63.6 degrees (17.6 Celsius), surpassing the previous record set in 2011 by a few hundredths of a degree. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climatologist Karin Gleeson said the mark is not only the warmest night average for July, but for any month in its 128-year record-keeping. July’s night minimum temperature was 3 degrees (1.7 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average.

Scientists have long talked about how nighttime temperatures — reflected in the increasingly warm minimum readings that typically occur after sunset and before sunrise — are important for health.

“When you have daytime temperatures at or near record high temperatures and you don’t have overnight recovery as temperatures cool down, it puts a lot of stress on plants, animals and humans,” Gleason said on Friday. ” “It’s a big deal.”

In Texas, where monthly daytime averages exceeded 100 °C (37.8 °C) for the first time in July and the electrical grid was stressed, mean nighttime temperatures were still 74.3 °C (23.5 °C) – 4 °C (2.2 °C). was. ) above the 20th century average.

Over the past 30 years, nighttime lows in the US have warmed by an average of about 2.1 °C (1.2 °C), while daytime highs have gone up 1.9 °C (1.1 °C) at the same time. For decades climate scientists have said that global warming from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas will warm the world faster at night and in the northern polar regions. one discovery Earlier this week it was said that the Arctic is now warming four times faster than the rest of the world.

Gleeson said nighttime heats up faster because daytime warming helps the air retain more moisture.

“So that’s expected in principle and it’s also something we’re seeing happening in the data,” Gleason said.

NOAA also released its global temperature data for July on Friday, showing it was the sixth warmest month on record with an average temperature of 61.97 °C (16.67 °C), an increase of 1.57 °C (1.57 °C) compared to the 20th century. 0.87 °C) is hot. average. It was the month of heat waves, with the United Kingdom breaking its all-time heat record.

“Global warming continues on pace,” said Colorado meteorologist Bob Henson.

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