It's hot. Really, really hot. Temperatures hit triple digits all over the country this month, which could turn out to be the hottest July ever. So . . . what's causing the heat?
June was the warmest month ever around the world, with temperatures averaging 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit above average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic DataCenter, which has been keeping such records since 1880.
It also was the fourth-consecutive warmest month on record, leading to the question: Can we make it five in a row?
"Maybe, but only slightly," says Joe Bastardi, Accuweather's long-range forecaster, who has been a critic of how NOAA compares temperature data and says we can accurately compare global temperatures recorded by satellites only from 1978 to the present.
"I think we're sort of peaking now because of a natural cycle," says Bastardi, who predicts that La Nina -- a weathercondition that describes cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Pacific -- will cause temperatures to drop for the rest of the year.
NOAA, on the other hand, predicts the trend will continue upward because greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are boosting overall temperatures. NOAA predicts July will break another record, despite La Nina -- and that 2010 will end up being the warmest year on record.
Head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and leading government climatologist James Hansen writes that"global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade, despite large year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Nino-La Nina cycle of tropical ocean temperature."
Meanwhile, as scientists argue over what's causing the heat wave, the rest of us continue to sweat.
This summer has been a scorcher in three states -- Delaware, New Jersey and North Carolina -- where records were set for the hottest June ever. But for the country on the whole, last month was only the eighth warmest June on record. And it hasn't been hot everywhere: According to NOAA, it was cooler than average in several parts of the globe, including Scandinavia, southern China and the northwestern United States.
But in the Northeast the heat wave continues, with temperatures predicted to be in the 90s later this week in places like Washington, D.C., which already endured 18 straight days of 90-plus temperatures last month.
Even Antarctica is seeing warm weather. Although Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole reported a freezing -86 degrees early Tuesday, coastal parts of the icy continent were in the low 30s.
Still, it could be worse. The hottest place on the planet last month was Abdaly, Kuwait, where the mercury hit 126.7 degrees on June 15. Now, that's hot.
High temps force Saints indoors
Credit: (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper drinks on the first day of training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Friday, July 30, 2010
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METAIRIE, La. ― The Saints are already being forced to alter their practice schedule and once again, Mother Nature is the main culprit.
Only this time, it has nothing to do with precipitation.
With temperatures to possibly reach record levels this afternoon and Saturday, Sean Payton has moved both p.m. practices into their indoor facilities to let the team escape the extreme heat.
Both Friday and Saturday afternoon’s practices are closed to the public.
Payton knew early on that this heat could prove to be a game-changer.
When asked if there was a heat threshold the team used to know when to move indoors, he said, “It’s when your gum starts melting in your pockets.”
According to the National Weather Service, the air temperature was 86 degrees at Armstrong Airport in Kenner, La, when practice started. But the heat index at the time was 96 degrees.
By the time practice finished at 11 a.m., the temperature was 90 degrees with a heat index of 100.
The Saints took four or five breaks and Payton said they cut out a period to keep the players from overheating.
Still, that wasn’t enough to keep defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from complaining, albeit sarcastically, about moving indoors.
Walking into the Saints’ Airline Drive facility after practice, Williams said, “Too much of a breeze. It needs to be hotter.”
Payton said the idea of moving indoors is to make sure to not only keep the players safe, but to make sure they get the most out of them during the practice.
“I think as much as anything else we’re trying to get as best work as we can too,” Payton said. “In other words, we’re not just pulling teeth to get through a practice. We’re actually getting a good practice in.”
Payton realizes how much the fans will be let down by the news, but promised there will be plenty of opportunity to see the team during the next 30 days.
“We’ve got a lot of good outdoor open practices ahead of us,” he said. “Certainly, from a fan’s perspective, it’s difficult to do that because there are so many people planning to see practice.”
Response I was a little surprised when I chose temperature as on of my topics. It looks like overall its pretty hot everywhere. I thought I’d add the article about the Mars rover surviving the winter because its shows how big of an impact our atmosphere has in mitigating the hot and cold extremes to temperatures that allow life. Other than that it looks like everyone is just trying to take shelter from all the recent heat.