NOAA: Summer third-hottest on record

The summer of 2012 was the third-warmest in the contiguous United States since recordkeeping began more than a century ago, a ranking aided by July’s record-breaking heat, according to federal data released Monday.

“The summer season's (June-August) nationally-averaged temperature was 74.4°F, 2.3°F above the 20th century average. Only the summers of 2011 (74.5°F) and 1936 (74.6°F) had higher temperatures for the Lower 48,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

NOAA also said that the January through August period was the warmest first eight months of any year on record. The national average of 58.7 degrees Fahrenheit was 4.0F above the 20th century average, and 1.0F above previous January-August record set in 2006.

August was warm, but not to the same degree as July — it was only the 16th warmest August recorded.

“The warmer-than-average August, in combination with the hottest July and a warmer-than-average June, contributed to the third hottest summer on record since recordkeeping began in 1895,” NOAA said in a summary of it monthly temperature data.