AUSTIN (KXAN) — The fingerprints of manmade climate change are evident in NOAA’s nationwide August weather summary as the country baked in record heat, experienced three different 1,000-year floods, and nearly 50% of the country’s land area fell into drought conditions.
Research suggests climate change is leading to warmer temperatures, longer periods without rainfall and heavier rainfall events in the United States.
NOAA reports the U.S. experienced its third-warmest meteorological summer (June-August) on record with an average day and night temperature in the lower 48 states of 73.9°F, 2.5°F above average. Austin recorded its second-hottest summer on record, falling just short of summer 2011.
Average overnight low temperatures during the month of August nationwide were record-warm for the second consecutive month. California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho each ranked warmest on record for August nighttime temperatures.
The National Weather Service deemed heavy rainfall episodes in southern Illinois, Death Valley National Park, and Dallas as 1,000-year events. While extensive flooding occurred with the heavy rain, some of these events helped to reduce the severity of the drought across portions of the West and southern Plains.
As of Aug. 30, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported 45.5% of the contiguous U.S. was in soil drought conditions. Even after the recent wet period in Texas, 62% of the state remains in drought.
Across all 50 states, NOAA reports more than 6 million acres of land have burned in wildfires this year.