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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Global temps are up for June

Global temps are up for June

But Summit County cooler due to rainy weather

SUMMIT COUNTY — Human-caused or not, global temperatures reached record levels in June 2009, according to the latest bulletin from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

According to the monthly update, the world's ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis from the agency's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Summit County bucked the global trend in June, when rainy skies kept the average daily high temperature more than 5 °F below the historic norm, as reported from a National Weather Service site in Dillon, based on records going back to 1909. The average daily low temperature at the Dillon gauge was 34 °F, almost 3 °F higher than the average 31.3 °F for the month.

Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was second-warmest on record after 2005, busting the 20th century average by 1.12 °F. Global record-keeping began in 1880.

Terrestrial warmth was most notable in Africa. Considerable warmth also occurred in Siberia and in the lands around the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Cooler-than-average land locations included the U.S. Northern Plains, the Canadian Prairie Provinces, and central Asia.

Separately, the global ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the warmest on record, 1.06 °F above the 20th century average.

Each hemisphere broke its June record for warmest ocean surface temperature. The global land surface temperature for June 2009 was 1.26 °F above the 20th century average of 55.9 °F, ranking it as the sixth-warmest June on record.

Climatologists with the agency also said (warmer than average sea temperatures in the Eastern Pacific is back after six straight months of increased sea-surface temperature anomalies. June sea surface temperatures in the region were more than 0.9 °F above average.

El Niño

El Niño plays role in Colorado's weather by affecting the track of storms moving inland from the Pacific. According to Colorado-based climate researcher Klaus Wolter, the pattern can lead to above-normal moisture for the state in late summer and early autumn.

The effect on winter weather is unclear for the Summit County area, although the southwestern part of the state, included the San Juan Mountains, tends to see above-normal snowfall during El Niño years.

Arctic sea ice in June was 5.6% below the 1979-2000 average extent, covering 4.4 million square miles. By contrast, sea ice in the Antarctic region was 3.9% above the 1979-2000 average.

Declining Arctic ice cover has been cited as a sign of global warming, while the growth of sea ice in the Antarctic is used as evidence by skeptics of global warming.

Regional outlook

The latest regional three-month outlook, issued in late June, calls for a tilt of the odds toward warmer temperatures in the West, including western Colorado.

The precipitation outlook for the same period (July-September) is for wetter than average in much of the interior southwestern U.S., with the best odds for wet weather stretching from southwestern New Mexico into central Colorado.

So far, July has been somewhat drier than normal in Summit County, pending potential onset of seasonal monsoon rains. July is historically the wettest season of the year in Summit County, average about two inches of precipitation.

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