According to experts, the summer of 2016 had the hottest nights of any year since 1895. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released data that showed June, July, and August 2016 had the warmest nights since records began about 121 years ago.
Climate scientist Jake Crouch, of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said:
“The national average low temperature rested at a balmy 60.8 degrees, about 2.4 degrees above average.”
Before 2016, the warmest summer nights were recorded in 2010 when they were at an average of 77.7 degrees. However, it is worth noting that 2016 did not break the record for the hottest year. 2015 was globally the warmest year since records began in 1880, according to NASA and NOAA. So, why was the summer so hot? Crouch has the explanation:
“The reason for the nighttime swelter, especially in the East, was unusually high levels of humidity due to a persistent flow of moisture-laden air off the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean, Temperatures don’t drop as much at night when the atmosphere is humid.”
Crouch went on to say that massive flooding in West Virginia in June, Ellicott City, Md. in July, and Louisiana in August were linked to the flow of warm and humid air. NOAA added:
“Overall, when day and night temperatures were factored in, the summer of 2016 tied with 2006 for the fifth-hottest summer on record in the U.S. Only the summers of 1936, 2012, 2011 and 1934 were hotter.”
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, California, Rhode Island, and Connecticut had their warmest summer this year. An extensive list of major cities including New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Columbia, S.C., and Portland, Maine, also suffered their hottest summer nights in 2016. Meteorologist Rob Martin shed more light on the phenomenon:
“If you took a poll, most wouldn’t say it (felt) like the hottest summer ever. No record high temps were tied or broken this summer, and the temp never reached 100 degrees or higher over the entire summer.”
“We are just shaking our heads, saying it doesn’t seem that warm, but it’s because the overnight temps were higher. In terms of afternoon temperatures, we didn’t have very hot days.”
The meteorologist said that the great news is that Americans can expect what he described as “a typical fall” with cooler temperatures.