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Warmest Summer on Record for DC and New York

Andrew Freedman

By Andrew Freedman

The summer of 2010 was a scorcher in many parts of the world, including the eastern U.S., where Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. broke records for their warmest summer since recordkeeping began. According to the Washington Post's "Capital Weather Gang" blog, (full discosure: I write a weekly climate science column for that site) this year marked the first time that city has experienced an average summer high temperature that was greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in D.C. reached or exceeded the 90 degree threshold on 52 days during June, July, and August, which together comprise the meteorological summer months. The average low temperature this summer was also far above average in D.C., with 71 days having had a low temperature of 70 degrees or higher, the Post reported.

Meanwhile, in New York, the National Weather Service (NWS) said the summer of 2010, with an average temperature of 77.8 degrees, had beaten the previous record of 77.3 degrees, which dates back to 1966. Records have been kept at Central Park since 1869. The high temperature on August 31, for example, was 96 degrees, which was 17 degrees above average, and September 1st was projected to reach the upper 90s once again.

The heat did not grip the entire country, however. The West Coast, for example, was remarkably cool during much of the summer, as detailed here yesterday. So far this year global temperatures have been soaring to record levels, but the global data for August won't be in until later this month.

Temperature departures from average during July, 2010. Note the cooler-than-average weather along the California coast, and heat in the East. Credit: NOAA/NCDC.

Computer model simulations that take into account increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, show that the summer of 2010 may be a harbinger of what's to come for many areas by the middle of the century. Climate Central's "Postcards From the Future" illustrate how a warming climate may increase the number of days that reach 90 degrees or greater during the summer months.

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