By Ben Geman - 09/10/12 03:37 PM EDT
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.
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.